wildfires

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It may be autumn in a couple of days but wildfire season isn't slowing down. People living in parts of Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah remain evacuated from their homes because of nearby wildfires. And the flames are fueling another thing-private firefighting companies.

Wildfires are still burning across much of the Mountain West. In Colorado, heat and drought are pushing fires into new areas. In Utah, evacuations are still in place for two blazes.

Meanwhile, new information is out about what caused the death of one Utah firefighter last month during California’s Mendocino Complex Fire.

The sun is just a dim red dot. The nearby Canadian Rockies are shrouded in thick wildfire smoke.

Bob Gray knows we probably shouldn’t be hiking up a mountain right now.

“I have a scratchy throat,” he says. “Physically it effects my breathing. I probably shouldn’t spend a lot of time in it.”

Nearly three hundred names have been added to the Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Colorado Springs. Occupational cancer claimed many of those lives.

A series of small forest fires that started this week in northern Utah and southern Wyoming are being investigated as arsons.

Western firefighters were working the biggest wildfire in California’s history when they encountered a surprising obstacle: slow internet.

With wildfires burning through much of the West, there’s high demand for big aircraft to come in and battle the flames from above.

Colorado is called “the mother of  rivers” for a reason: it’s one of the most popular states for river rafting in the country.  But like the rest of our region, unprecedented growth, a changing climate, drought, and wildfires are taking their toll on this multi-million-dollar industry.

Wildfire smoke reached dangerous levels across the Mountain West Monday. Eastern Washington had the worst air in the country and all 56 counties in Montana were under an air quality alert – possibly the first time that’s happened in the state’s history.

Over the last 30 years, the West has seen an uptick in the size and frequency of forest fires. Scientists have typically attributed the change to low snowpack and high summer temperatures. But researchers writing in the journal PNAS say the trend could have more to do with rain.

Researchers pulled up maps of forest wildfires from 1979 to 2016 and compared those maps against data on snow, rain, temperature and humidity.

Alexi Hubbell Photography

With its breathtaking views, the Mountain West has long been a destination for weddings. But now, some wedding industry workers are seeing fewer couples wanting to get hitched in late summer months because of an increasingly smoky backdrop.

Utah officials are praising a Draper firefighter who was killed while battling California's biggest wildfire, the first fatality of the massive Mendocino Complex Fire. 

Scorching temperatures are hitting our region’s biggest tourist attractions. On Friday, temperatures at Glacier National Park hit triple digits for the first time in recorded history.

A couple days later, the Howe Ridge fire blew up.

Lodgers and campers awoke late Sunday night to officials telling them to get out as soon as possible.


A new study shows air pollution like soot, dust and smoke is down around the country with one exception: wildfire prone areas like the Mountain West.  

Record-breaking wildfires in California have prompted tweets from President Trump and U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. They blame the fires on “bad environmental laws,” too many dead or dying trees, and not enough logging.

As record wildfires rage across the West, funding for fire prevention science is in jeopardy. Under President Donald Trump's 2019 budget proposal, cuts to various programs will be significant.

Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest

Fires continue to burn in many parts of the west and officials are bracing for a long, grueling and even deadlier fire season than they’re used to. Wyoming Senator John Barrasso chairs the Environment Committee where he oversees the nation’s forests.   

Simulating The Weather Created By Fire In New Study

Jul 30, 2018

A recent study is helping researchers understand the role of wind in the largest forest fires.

U.S. Air Force

A new report from The PEW Charitable Trusts said most states aren’t tracking how much they spend overall to deal with natural disasters.  

Melodie Edwards

In the last few years, researchers have discovered the earth is literally filled with microbes, those little single-celled critters we sometimes call germs. They’ve even been found living as deep as the earth’s core. And they say these microbes could help us gain access to thousands of years of knowledge. Now scientists at the University of Wyoming want to use those layers of ancient history to help us recover from wildfires as the climate warms up.

Melodie S. Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

It’s year two in a major project to catalog the microbes of Wyoming, and now University of Wyoming scientists have a robot to help them do the job.

One of the world’s biggest firefighting aircraft is based in Colorado Springs. But it's fighting fires in California right now, rather than in the Mountain West.

So far around 60 wildfires are burning on 700,000 acres of land nationwide. Here’s a look at the 2018 fire season in our region and the forecast for the summer.

Eric Quinney / Uinta County Fire Protection

The Twin Ridge Fire in Evanston quickly burned 73 acres of brush the afternoon of July 4th, coming right up to the edge of a neighborhood. No homes or structures were lost.

Fires are burning in Colorado, Utah and there’s fire danger in other parts of the Mountain West. Now three U.S. Congressmen from Colorado have introduced legislation that would make it a felony to fly a drone over a wildfire. Drones can make fighting fires more difficult and put lives at risk.

https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5836/

The Badger Creek Fire in southern Wyoming’s Medicine Bow National Forest was downgraded to a Type 3 incident Thursday. That means the fire is less intense and requires less personnel. The fire, which started on June 10 caused the evacuation of several mountain communities. 

This year’s federal firefunding fix brought a sigh of relief among many in the Mountain West.

It will pump billions of dollars into firefighting efforts over the next decade. But not all wildfires are fought by the federal government.  

Many are fought at the state level with dwindling state funds.  

U.S. Marine Corps

Target shooting is a popular activity on public lands across our region. It's also the second leading human cause of wildfires.

inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5836/

At over 5,000 acres as of Wednesday morning, the Badger Creek Fire continues to grow near the Medicine Bow National Forest in southern Wyoming close to the Colorado border.

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