colorado

Andrea J Holland

A wildfire caused by lightning near Glenwood Springs cost between $80,000 and $100,000 to fight. It’s now fully controlled.

The Red Canyon Fire started Friday afternoon in dry juniper, pinyon and sagebrush. It burned seven acres on BLM land about three miles southeast of Glenwood. David Boyd with the BLM says two helicopters and between 50 and 60 firefighters worked it.

"When you have a fire this close to the community, you want to keep it small. One reason it stayed small was because we had so many people who could respond to it."

Creative Commons/Flickr/Zdenko Zivkovic

The number of low-income Medicaid patients accessing care in area emergency rooms is on the rise. The increase - seen at Aspen Valley and Valley View Hospitals - follows a national trend in states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

In 2014 the amount of business Aspen Valley Hospital did for Medicaid patients was triple the number in 2013. Hospital officials attribute the rise to Colorado expanding its Medicaid program.

silverpeakapothecary.com

The marijuana industry in Colorado got some attention at the Aspen Ideas Festival last week. Festival participants toured a grow operation near Basalt and heard from experts about the somewhat bumpy rollout of recreational pot. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

There’s a few rules before you take a tour of High Valley Farms near Basalt.

Pete McBride

Incentives from the federal government for farmers who grow crops like cotton are contributing to the depletion of the Colorado River. A Propublica report this spring investigated the issue. The article’s author was at the Aspen Ideas Festival Tuesday (6/30). Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Lloyd F. Athearn/Colorado Fourteeners Initiative

Trails on peaks in Aspen’s backyard have received both “A” and “F” grades. That’s according to a report card on Colorado’s 14,000 foot peaks or “fourteeners.” 

Sally Jewell, the Secretary of the Interior and Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture, came to Colorado Tuesday to urge a change in how the federal government pays to fight catastrophic wildfires.

"The solution is for these fires to be looked upon in the same way we look at tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods, they're natural disasters and they should be funded as such," Vilsack said.

Interior's Jewell agrees the funding mechanism should change.

It's been a month since Colorado lawmakers wrapped up their 2015 legislative session at the state capitol, but the work is far from over. Many of the bills that failed this year will likely be back next session and some long-standing issues may already be poised to go before voters in 2016.

U.S. Army/Sgt. Jecca Geffre

Governor John Hickenlooper was in Rifle Wednesday at a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new wildfire research center. 

The Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting will officially open later this summer but, elected leaders from around the state gathered Wednesday for an unofficial welcome.

"We are pleased as punch to have the Center of Excellence here, at Rifle/Garfield County Airport," said Garfield County Commissioner Mike Samson.

Marci Krivonen

The month of April is when the Greater Sage Grouse does an elaborate dance to find a mate. The chicken-like bird lives in northwest Colorado and other western states and it’s population is shrinking. The largest conservation effort ever is underway to improve the bird’s habitat and prevent a federal “endangered” listing. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen visited the largest breeding grounds in the state, where the birds gather each year for their courtship dance.

Ruedi Water and Power Authority

An effort is underway to get people to conserve water across the Roaring Fork Valley. On Tuesday a public meeting will be held in El Jebel on the Regional Water Efficiency Plan.

For more than a year, major water suppliers in the Valley like the Cities of Aspen and Glenwood Springs, have been creating their own water efficiency plans. Those plans make up a larger effort. It lays out ways to use less water.

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