Colorado Wildfires & Bans

This note is for Colorado people who are concerned about Rainbow impact on the National Forest, and especially about fire safety, and who have little or no experience of Rainbow Gatherings.I am both long time Rainbow Family and a Colorado local. I live in a place surrounded by National Forest, and I completely understand concerns about fire safety – I share them. My home is at risk, too.We who live in Colorado surrounded by National Forests know that Rainbow Gathering or not, it is a certainty that at the height of summer our National Forests will be inundated by thousands of visitors. This is a given. These will include both tourists from out of state, and Colorado folks from Denver: city people who don’t know the basics of wildland camping and fire safety.In that much, Rainbows are no different: we include both people who’ve spent a lot of time in wildlands and understand fire safety, and first-timers who have maybe never been camping before.One difference between Rainbows and tourists in general is in the proportions between these: there are a lot more Rainbows who have spent a LOT of time in the woods, and know everything there is to know about fire safety.Another difference is that while tourists have no particular relationship with each other and no particular sense of responsibility for each other, Rainbows are not like that. We see each other as family, and those of us with experience are VERY ready, willing and able to share the experience and knowledge gained over 50 years of Gatherings in wildlands, with newcomers. Believe me, you do NOT want to experience a pissed-off Rainbow Mama who is protecting her kids screaming at you about about what a F’ing idiot you are for building an individual fire instead of using a community fire in a well-designed fire pit! For weeks already, there have been ongoing virtual meetings of knowledgable Rainbow folks discussing exactly that: how best to do things like Fire Watch patrols, and share our experience of fire safety with those who have less experience.Wherever the Gathering is will absolutely be THE BEST patrolled bit of America’s National Forests! There will be literally thousands of people pre-positioned to deal with any problems that come up.Beyond that, a longer term impact of the Gathering on the land where we gather will be that a VERY high proportion of the downed, dead wood will be safely consumed. A BIG part of the problem we Coloradoans have been dealing with for years now is the result of the well-intentioned but frankly stupid Forest Service’s former policy of preventing ALL forest fires. The FS has realized the error of its ways and now does “controlled burns”. A Rainbow Gathering is WAY more controlled than a FS “controlled burn” in that the fires are MUCH smaller, MUCH more under control, and the number of personnel pre-positioned to deal with any issues is MUCH higher!For these reasons, having a Rainbow Gathering in the area actually makes our local communities much LESS vulnerable to wildfires.

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