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.

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.

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.

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.