wildfires

For much of the last decade, air pollution was decreasing. But it’s now on the rise, particularly in the West.

That’s according to a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. It found that between 2016 and 2018, the levels of fine particulate matter increased 11.5% in the West. California's been impacted the most.

In the next few weeks, the U.S. Forest Service plans to conduct a massive controlled burn on a remote mountain in Utah, part of the agency’s efforts to better understand the behavior of giant fires that are becoming more common in the West.

A new study suggests huge fire blankets can help protect homes during wildfires.

Telemetry: Special 3

Oct 11, 2019
Jennifer Jerrett

In this episode, we're turning up the heat—both on and under the landscape.

Colorado and Oregon researchers writing this week in the journal Science say there's an urgent need to reevaluate wildfire management practices, calling for more “collaborative governance” and more prescribed fire.

“Science tells us these are fire-adapted ecosystems and we have to get fire back on the ground, and that’s a key strategy for mitigating future fire and also for the long-term resilience of those ecosystems,” said Courtney Schultz, professor of natural resource policy and governance at Colorado State University.

Reservoirs can get messy after a big wildfire. The issue isn’t the fire itself, it’s what happens after. 

Our region is leading the way on training helicopter pilots to fight fires at night.  There are costs and hazards involved but the move could also help firefighters get the most threatening blazes under control more quickly.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

As hunting seasons gets underway, the Wyoming State Forestry Division wants to remind everyone to use extra caution when it comes to fire safety.

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is advising sensitive residents near Cody to reduce outdoor activities because of poor air quality. This is due to the Firehawk fire, which is burning 42 miles west of Cody in the Washakie wilderness.

Inciweb

Fire season has finally shown up after a late start in Wyoming with at least three wildfires burning across the state.

A recent study says the American West should be doing more prescribed burns to keep forests healthy and to help lessen the impacts of wildfires across our region. It also concluded that there needs to be a change in how we perceive the practice out here for that to happen.

Wildfires are still burning across the Mountain West, but far fewer than in the last few years.


Wildfires are a common part of life in our region. According to new research, they can also give scientists valuable information about the climate effects of another potential disaster: nuclear war.

NPS

On Friday, July 26, a fire spread through the grass and sagebrush near the north entrance station of Yellowstone National Park.

It’s no secret that wildfires are getting worse in the West. They’re threatening lives, homes and ecosystems. And they are also threatening our already-precarious watersheds. It’s all becoming a vicious cycle  — especially for the drier parts of our region. 

Several utility companies in the West have announced they will institute power blackouts in areas with high fire risk when conditions are particularly bad. 

The Bureau of Land Management is proposing 11,000 miles of fuel breaks throughout our region to help combat the spread of wildfires.

Preston L. Chasteen

A recent study called upon the Western U.S. to increase its prescribed burn practice as a preventative for large-scale wildfires. Prescribed burning is used to remove flammable undergrowth and dry, dead patches that add fuel to a wildfire.

The Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Blue

Fire season has been delayed by a cool, rainy June, but state and federal agencies say they are prepared to go to work if and when the fires start.

NPS

Medical and public-health groups are calling climate change "a health emergency," in a new report released Monday. Organizations like the American Lung Association and the American Medical Association are demanding elected officials and other leaders to prioritize action.

picryl.com

With summer around the corner, fire season also looms. This year's wet spring has delayed the onset of wildfires compared to last year, but that doesn't necessarily mean the fire season will be less intense than normal. Wyoming State Forester Bill Crapser says fire season can be very hard to predict.

A 2017 “flash drought” on the northern Great Plains led to massive wildfires, millions of dollars in lost tourism revenue and $2.6 billion in agricultural losses, according to a new federal report released Thursday.

Colorado is testing out self-driving ATVs to assist wildland firefighters at work. The state is working with Honda to test out the company’s emerging technology.    

Salam2009 via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license

Landowners and homeowners worried about this year's fire season in the Bighorn Basin can learn about wildfire mitigation at a workshop in Worland.

U.S. Army Photo by Preston L. Chasteen

Wildfire season is around the corner in the Mountain West. Prescribed burns are just one way to reduce wildfire risk. That's because, in the right setting, they reduce built-up dry fuel in a controlled environment.

Soil erosion in the West is getting worse. And that’s creating more dust – which isn’t good for ecosystems, human health or the economy.

Legislation to mandate the use of cutting edge technology in fighting wildfires passed the House Wednesday and is now headed to the president’s desk.

 


A few months ago, John Parker retired and moved into a salmon-colored log house on a mountain called Tungsten in unincorporated Boulder County.

"Just to get a little piece of heaven, get away from the madding crowd," he says.

Inside, a wood-fired stove fills the house with heat and a low hum. Outside, the snow feels like thick, gritty icing. The wind barrels up a slope, gathering snow into a glittery stream. When the glitter stream meets the house, it curves around and hugs it, piling up around the back steps. It does not feel like the time to think about wildfires. But if that same wind was carrying embers instead of snow, those would follow the same path and instead of glittering, that pile by the back door would be glowing.

Winter is when the federal government starts spending dollars to prepare for the wildfire season, but the ongoing shutdown has put some of this preparation in limbo.

Department of the Interior

A new Executive Order posted Monday in the Federal Register is aimed at fire risk reduction. It prioritizes "active management" on about eight million acres of public lands. That's a catch-all phrase that includes logging.

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