Fourmile Canyon fire to be remembered with spoken-word event

By Staff

The University of Colorado Boulder's Center of the American West will host "Words to Stir the Soul and Reckon With Reality: The Six-Month Anniversary of the Fourmile Canyon Fire" on Monday, March 14.

Readers will include residents of the burn area, firefighters and local government officials representing a multitude of perspectives on the wildfire that burned 169 homes last September. Each participant will select and read from works of literature that capture some dimension of their experience.

The program will be at 7 p.m. in the Wolf Law Building's Wittemyer Courtroom on the CU-Boulder campus. The event is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a reception.

Readers will include Will Toor, Boulder County commissioner; Joe Pelle, Boulder County sheriff; Doug Looney, former Sports Illustrated writer and Fourmile resident; Marisha Evans, Boulder High School student and Fourmile resident; Don Whittemore, Rocky Mountain Fire assistant chief; and Rodrigo Moraga, firefighter, co-founder of Anchor Point Fire Management Consultants and Fourmile resident.

The Sept. 6-16, 2010 fire was a devastating event for the Boulder community. It burned more than 6,100 square acres in the mountains west of the city and became the most expensive wildfire in Colorado's history.

"In my 27 years of living in Boulder, few events have been of greater consequence, or more troubling, than the Fourmile Canyon fire," said history Professor Patty Limerick, faculty chair of the center. "The intensity of the loss to individuals and families requires a constant reckoning from all of us, and we are all obligated to put our souls, minds and hearts to work on reflecting on this event, and its lessons for the future. The center is honored by the kindness and openness of the participants who are making it possible for us to hold this event."

Over the past 15 years, the Center of the American West's Words to Stir the Soul series has approached topics of current concern through the literature associated with the selected theme.

CU-Boulder's Center of the American West works on a variety of regional issues, including water management, relationships between federal agencies and communities and economies, land planning, Native American identity, recent art and literature, and the balance of power between tradition and innovation in Western life.

For more information, visit the Center of the American West's website at or call 303-492-4879.