Environment

Environmental coverage

Kirk Siegler / NPR

Just north of Colorado Springs, a destructive wildfire continues to burn. Reporter Liz Ruskin has been covering the Black Forest Fire, which started on Tuesday afternoon. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen spoke with her on Wednesday afternoon from KRCC’s studios, downtown where, she said, evidence of the fire was easy to see.

National Snow and Ice Data Center

Living in the mountains, it’s easy to see changes in nature, especially in the snow. In recent years, dust from desert areas like Utah, has coated some of the area’s snowpack. Scientists in Boulder say the amount of dust being blown into Colorado and throughout the West, has increased over the last two decades. They measured calcium in rainfall to come up with their findings. Jason Neff is associate professor of geology at CU-Boulder and coauthor of the dust study. He told Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen the escalation of dust emissions is due to several factors.

The Roaring Fork Conservancy

More than 100 people jumped into rafts on Saturday for an annual float down the Roaring Fork River. Only, this float wasn’t just an excuse to cool off on a hot day. It was meant to be a learning experience or a classroom on water. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

Alongside the river in Glenwood Springs, volunteers lug a big raft full of people to shore. They’re part of the Roaring Fork Conservancy’s 9th annual River Float. The non profit fills more than a dozen boats with participants and an ambassador who talks about the in’s and out’s of the river. 

 Fire season has already started in Colorado with the so-called Blue Bell fire igniting near Denver this week. Closer to home, fire officials are holding meetings in local communities to get people prepared. In an effort to educate people statewide, Colorado State University has unveiled a new website that pinpoints fire risk throughout the state. As Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports the website allows the user to type in their address to see how susceptible their home is to wildfire. 

The Forest Service isn’t hiring as many firefighters this year, compared to years past. That’s according to the agency’s top official. Tom Tidwell testified before Congress earlier this week. He said there will be five hundred fewer firefighters this year. That’s because of sequestration, or mandatory budget cuts. Bill Kight is with the White River National Forest. Aspen Public Radio asked whether those budget cuts will mean fewer firefighters for the Forest.

“Uh no, not really, we’re in good shape this year. We’re about the same number of folks we had last year.”

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