b'Western Wildfires Significantly ImpactedParks as They Dealt with Smoke, FlamesBY JEFF CRIDEREditors note: Wildfires have been springing up across Western statesthroughout the Fall and some of the data in this story may have changedby the time readers receive their copy of this issue. That said, WoodallsCampground Management (WCM) believed it was important to run thisstory because it gives insights into how park owners are faring amid aworse-than-normal wildfire season. While record numbers of consumers have embraced camping as thesafest family activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 camping sea-son was cut short for many campgrounds in some western states as the re-sult of an unprecedented series of late summer and fall wildfires.By early November, Californias wildfires had consumed more than fourmillion acres, including the 358,967-acre Creek Fire just south of YosemiteNational Park. The fire, the largest single wildfire in California history, startedSept. 4 and was only 60% contained by late October. The fire resulted in thetemporary closure of Yosemite due to hazardous smoke conditions.Meanwhile, firefighters in Oregon had their hands full battling numerouswildfires up and down the state that had burned over one million acres bylate October. These included the Lionshead and Beachie Creek wildfires,Smoke is shown here rising from the Cameron which had collectively burned more than 400,000 acres, including vast sec-Peak Fire in Northern Colorado. Campgrounds tions of the Williamette, Deschutes and Mt. Hood National Forests east ofnear wildfires have had to battle with smoke and Salem.flames as they try to protect their parks and keep At the same time, firefighters in October were battling the two largestthem open for business.wildfires in Colorado history: the 208,663-acre Cameron Peak Fire west ofFort Collins and the East Troublesome Fire, which prompted the temporaryclosure of Rocky Mountain National Parkand the evacuation of neighboringEstes Park.The Cameron Peak Fire started Aug. 13 and was only 56% contained bylate-October due to high winds and dangerous terrain, which frustrated fire-fighters trying to contain the blaze. The East Troublesome Fire started twoWestern Wildfirescontinued on page 32WOODALLSCM.com December 2020-31'