For over 80 years, Philmont Scout Ranch has delivered unforgettable and life-changing adventures to more than one million Scouts and Leaders. Hundreds of miles of trails have fostered teamwork, determination, leadership growth, and challenges overcome as millions of boot prints left behind, have traversed through the magical Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Philmont’s cherished ideals are facing a renewed threat today as fire rages at Philmont. On April 17, 2022, the Cooks Peak Fire started near Philmont’s southern border. Five days later, pushed by high winds gusting at 75 mph, the fire crossed the property line. Soon after, Philmont was evacuated. This was the second time in 4 years that Philmont has been impacted by a fire and evacuation.
The Philmont staff is working tirelessly to protect the ranch. A team set out to retrieve priceless items from cabins that were determined to be in the line of the fire. This included Wood Badge memorabilia and axes from the Zastrow cabin and furniture from Abreu and Fish Camp. Our livestock department with help from our neighbors moved hundreds of head to safety in under 15 hours.
Another team has wrapped the cabins at Fish Camp, Crater Lake, and Carson Meadows in fire retardant material. Road crews have cut miles of fire break in the South Country. The Philmont and Cimarron Fire Departments, which are comprised of many full-time staff, continue to play a major role in defending Philmont and our surrounding communities.
Despite these countless efforts to protect the ranch, the Cabin at Zastrow was destroyed as well as miles of fencing and gates. The fire continues to threaten the Philmont backcountry.
In the coming weeks and months, a multitude of restoration efforts will need to address forest, grassland, riparian zones, and wildlife habitats. In addition, we will continue our work on trails, campsite infrastructure, and more to protect HOmE from future fire threats.
The Ute Park Fire damaged 27,000 acres of Philmont property. Since then:
• 125,000+ staff hours have been spent to mitigate the impact of wildfires.
• 4970 slash piles built.
• 2300 piles burned.
• 2000+ acres treated for fuel reduction, creating defensible space and shaded fuel breaks.
• 14,000+ board feet of lumber milled and repurposed from material created from thinning.
• Philmont’s forestry crew has quadrupled and led Scouts in over 50,000 volunteer hours in fuel reduction work.