Wildfire

Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department

Rifle will soon be home to a new wildland firefighting training center. The Rifle - Garfield County Airport has been chosen to house what’s being called the Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting. It’s planned to be a research location for testing out aerial firefighting techniques, and will be used by local, state, and federal entities.

Mountain Edition - March 19th, 2015

Mar 19, 2015

Welcome to Mountain Edition.

Elected leaders in Aspen choose a brewery - slash - small business incubator to fill the city-owned Old Power House.

Unstable snow on local ski slopes prompts the Aspen Skiing Company to temporarily close terrain.

A professional cross country ski racer is home from the World Championships. Aspen’s Simi Hamilton looks back on his season.

There won’t be a sentence for a fatal highway 133 crash for another month.

We hear from the head of Colorado’s largest oil and gas organization about why she’s leaving her post.

Creative Commons/Flickr/USDA

Research of wildfire history in Aspen’s Smuggler Mountain and Hunter Creek areas is providing a window into how a future fire may behave. It’s important work given the close proximity of those forests to downtown Aspen. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen spoke with Jason Sibold, a researcher at Colorado State University.

Jason Sibold researched wildfire history near Aspen. He spoke with Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen. Last week Pitkin County announced the formation of a new wildfire council that will work on fire mitigation in our region.

Marci Krivonen

The U.S. Department of Agriculture chose a Gypsum biomass plant to participate in a federal energy program. Eagle Valley Clean Energy was one of 36 facilities nationwide chosen to be part of the Biomass Crop Assistance Program.

southcanyonfire.com

Twenty years ago this month, a fast-moving wildland fire near Glenwood Springs killed 14 firefighters. On Sunday firefighters and family members will remember those who died in the South Canyon Fire during a special commemoration. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen spoke with David Boyd with the Bureau of Land Management. He’s helping organize the event.

The South Canyon Fire commemoration starts at 4:45pm at Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs on Sunday (6/7). For more information, visit this website.

Mountain Edition - July 3rd, 2014

Jul 3, 2014

Sunday marks an anniversary of a local tragedy. A wildfire near Glenwood Springs 20 years ago, killed fourteen firefighters.

As the cycling world gears up from the Tour de France, the sport is still dusting itself off. We hear from Lance Armstrong who was found guilty of doping.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper was in Aspen this week, discussing two hot topics at the Aspen Ideas Festival - marijuana and fracking.

Another Ideas Fest speaker was Grover Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform.

A natural history documentary screens on PBS next year and this one is unlike any other nature film. We’ll tell you why.

Finally, we’ll take you to Snowmass Village where a giant yoga festival gets underway today.

That’s all coming up on Mountain Edition.

Marci Krivonen

Wildfire season is well underway in the West, as crews battle destructive blazes in California. Rain clouds and even snow have been more common in the Roaring Fork Valley this spring, but wildfire officials say right now is the time to prepare. The Town of Basalt is holding a Wildfire Preparedness Workshop on Wednesday. One of the presenters is Assistant District Forester Kamie Long, with the Colorado State Forest Service.

KSUT.org

The story of wildfire in the west is increasingly bleak. Fires are bigger, the wildfire season’s longer, and homes are increasingly built on lands at risk to fire. That’s the situation surrounding a wildfire conference in Glenwood Springs this week. Firefighters, elected officials and government workers met to try and find solutions. As Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports, one idea is to expand biomass production.

Mountain Edition - April 3rd, 2014

Apr 3, 2014

Defense attorneys in the Nancy Pfister case are digging through lots of evidence.

Spring snow showers have boosted snowpack to above-average levels and forecasts are calling for high river flows this spring.

A Western Slope lawmaker is proposing Colorado get its own firefighting fleet of airplanes and helicopters.

And, wildfire is on the minds of local officials who are planning ahead after devastating fires in recent years, on the Front Range.

Suicide is getting attention in the Aspen community, after several deaths this winter.

And, we have some fun with what could be the Upper Valley’s first home inspired hybrid.

Marci Krivonen

Even though there’s still snow on the ground, local planning is already happening around wildfires. Prompted by large and destructive fires in recent years, the City of Aspen, Pitkin County and the local fire protection district are working together to make neighborhoods safer. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

It’s lightly snowing in a neighborhood east of Aspen as firefighter Parker Lathrop makes his way up a winding, paved road.

www.gailschwartz.org

With about five weeks left in Colorado’s legislative session, lawmakers are going over the budget, looking into fighting wildfires and voting on internet access for rural areas. State Senator Gail Schwartz is involved with these efforts. She’s a democrat from Snowmass Village and Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen sat down with her on Sunday. Here is their entire conversation.

Red Canyon Wildfire Sparks South of Glenwood Springs

Aug 16, 2013
Marci Krivonen

UDATE: August 16th, 2013 - 9:00pm

The fire is 100% contained and management of the blaze will be returned to local agencies early tomorrow morning. The evacuation order for residents who live on the backside of Lookout Mountain, has been lifted. Over the weekend, crews will continue to monitor for hot spots and rehab fire lines. Red Canyon Road (County Road 115) remains closed to traffic. Two minor injuries were reported on the fire today. One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion and another individual received stitches on a cut. The cost of fighting the fire is over $1 million.

Helicopters a Big Help in Red Canyon Fire Attack

Aug 15, 2013
Facebook/Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District

The Red Canyon Fire burning southeast of Glenwood Springs didn’t see any growth yesterday. Favorable weather and more resources allowed firefighters to get a handle on the blaze. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

So far, about 390 acres have burned in the rugged area, three miles outside of Glenwood Springs. As of yesterday evening, nearly 30 percent of the fire had been contained.

Marci Krivonen

Strong winds yesterday, whipped up flames on a wildfire burning south of Glenwood Springs. The Red Canyon Fire grew to 350 acres and mandatory evacuations forced 15 families from their homes. The fire is burning in rugged terrain, in a Pinyon/Juniper forest. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen was with firefighters when the blaze blew up and started creeping toward them. She filed this report.

Mountain Edition - July 18th, 2013

Jul 18, 2013

Pitkin County’s library is moving ahead with designs to expand, but the plan is significantly scaled back because voters turned down funding the project.

In Southwest Colorado, a massive wildfire closed down businesses in tourist towns. Now businesses are trying to recover...They’re applying for special loans.

We’ll talk about fire with Congressman Scott Tipton. In response to deadly forest fires he has sponsored legislation to thin forests so they are less explosive.

And, we’ll make a trek to Gothic, Colorado on the other side of the Maroon Bells where scientists have been studying a colony of marmots....for more than 50 years.

Finally today...The Thompson Divide Coalition’s attempt to buy out oil and gas company leases is not new...It’s been tried in other Western states.

LANL (China, S, Mazzoleni, C, Gorkowski, K, Aiken, AC, Dubey, MK; Nature Communications, 2013)

As the country recovers from the worst wildland firefighting accident in years, there’s more attention on fire crews and the homes they’re trying to protect. But an often invisible result of wildfire can have a big effect on human health and climate... even after the flames die down. Science correspondent Ellis Robinson takes a look at the effects of wildfire smoke on air quality. And that means understanding something called a “tarball.”

Courtesy: Rebecca Schild

A world-class climbing area near Rifle may reopen today. The Rifle Mountain Park has been closed for five days because of the nearby Ward Gulch fire. Now, the town’s Parks and Recreation Department says people may be able to return... but it all depends on the weather. 

Rifle Mountain Park has some of the best rock climbing in the country, and climbers from all over the world test their skills there. Everyone was evacuated last Friday, when the Ward Gulch fire got perilously close.  Tom Whitmore is Parks Director for the Town of Rifle.

[Photo: Esther Godson]

For firefighters, each new blaze presents different challenges. Where to get water... the boundaries between private and public property.. access roads and other details can be crucial to getting control of a fire. To make that easier, the Forest Service and other agencies are building their own Google Earth program.

Valley Roundup - June 14th, 2013

Jun 14, 2013

On the show this week Carolyn Sackariason, Editor of the Aspen Daily News and Curtis Wackerle, Aspen Daily News Managing Editor, joins us to discuss the top news stories:

Forest Fires on the Front Range.

The Black Forest fire is now the most destructive in Colorado history.  At record time, more than 360 homes had been destroyed.

Black Forest Fire Burns 360 Homes

Jun 13, 2013
NPR/Kirk Siegler

A wildfire burning north of Colorado Springs is officially Colorado’s most destructive fire, ever. Law enforcement officials announced this morning the Black Forest fire has burned 360 homes - that’s more than last year’s Waldo Canyon Fire. 15,000 acres have burned and nearly 40,000 people have been evacuated. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa gave credit to firefighters’ hard work.

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