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State of the Rockies Orange Skies Project

Wildfires always have played a critical role on Rocky Mountain landscapes.  Historically, low-intensity fires helped create and maintain a mosaic of diverse multi-age forest habitat. 

Over the past century, human alteration of the natural fire regime, combined with removal of water from forests, a warming climate, and years of severe drought have shifted fire behavior from low-intensity fires toward regional fires that cause greater ecological and social impacts. 

Record-breaking wildfires in 2020 scorched nearly 2.6 million acres of forests across the eight-state region affecting people and costing hundreds of millions for firefighting and mitigation.  As climate warming trends lead to more frequent and bigger fires, Colorado College students are creating Orange Skies -- an exhibition of photos taken of wildfire activity around the Rocky Mountain West, exploring visually the far-reaching effects of smoke and flames.    

Share your experiences. Submit your wildfire photos to by February 5, 2021.

Interested in attending the March 30, 2021 virtual gallery tour?  RSVP to

Last updated: 03/02/2021