Wildfire

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.

With new evacuations overnight, firefighters continue to battle the Black Forest Fire while other fires in Colorado are seeing some containment or slower growth.

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.

Two days after the one year anniversary of the High Park Fire and ahead of the Waldo Canyon anniversary, Colorado’s wildfire season has started in earnest.

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.”

Elise Thatcher

The fire season is underway, with evacuations near Denver for what’s being called the Bluebell Fire. The blaze started yesterday in the Evergreen area, just west of Denver.

Two much smaller fires were reported in the Roaring Fork Valley this weekend. One was up Thompson Creek, near Carbondale. The other was in Aspen City limits, next to Aspen Mountain. Right now, fire danger varies a little along the Roaring Fork Valley. In the Carbondale area it’s moderate, it is low in Aspen.  Ron Leach is Chief of the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District.  Leach is advising caution.

Elise Thatcher

It’s easy to not think about wildfires just yet. But local officials in the Roaring Fork Valley are working together to make sure you’re getting ready for fire season. Fire departments, the red cross, and other emergency services are trying out a way of getting the word out. It’s part of a new national and international effort, to make it easier for people to understand how to get ready for--and survive--wildfire season. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher went to the first meeting in the series, to find out what’s new this year.

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