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A Colorado family considers multigenerational living two years after the Marshall Fire destroys their home

The Burn Scar: The Modern West podcast, Season 7

After the holidays, Ariel Lavery and her husband pile their Christmas presents and two small children into their car and start the long drive back to Kentucky. Ariel always feels sad leaving the home where she grew up on the Colorado plains. But this time, as the family approaches Kansas City, she gets a text that makes her want to turn back immediately. A grassland fire is burning straight toward her childhood home. Ariel’s mother evacuates with her ailing father and their dog moments before the fire rips through their neighborhood. The entire thing plays out in a group text chain with her parents and siblings. Ariel and her family stop at a hotel and she doom scrolls late into the night. Soon the family learns the worst: their beloved home with the beautiful vista is burnt to ash and rubble.

In a five-part series from The Modern West, Podcast Producer Ariel Lavery brings her family’s story of the Marshall Fire to life using recordings tracing events as they unfold. Through interviews with neighbors and climate scientists, insurance experts and fire specialists, Ariel digs deep into the questions surrounding the Marshall Fire: what could her parents and their neighbors have done to stop the fire’s spread? Was this urban fire in the middle of winter really caused by climate change? Should her parents rebuild in the same place where such a fire could happen again?

Like climate refugees everywhere, Ariel and her parents start considering radical options. Ariel and her family are even considering building a multigenerational home with her parents. In a state that is proactively fighting climate change, could she better protect her parents and children under one roof? Or has Colorado just become too fire prone?

The Burn Scar is a tender yet carefully investigated story of one family, one fire and the hard choices people are making in the wake of increasing natural disasters. Please consider a review.

Interviews with Ariel, the producer, or Melodie, the host, can be arranged at modernwestpod@gmail.com or at 307-766-4240.

The Burn Scar is a series with episodes dropping in your feed now. The Modern West is available for download on all major podcasts apps and this season can be streamed at themodernwest.org. Find The Modern West on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ModernWestPod.

The Modern West is a Wyoming Public Media production. The Burn Scar was made possible through generous support from The Argosy Foundation.


About Wyoming Public Media Wyoming Public Media (WPM) is Wyoming's public radio/media statewide network operating 4 FM channels and an online service. Its Wyoming Public Radio (WPR) FM signal alone reaches approximately 95 percent of the state and is heard by over 70,000 Wyomingites. Online content is accessed by over 1.2 million unique visitors annually. It is the NPR affiliate for Wyoming.

WPM's mission is to connect Wyoming through programming that informs, inspires, and educates. Its objectives are to 1) encourage lifelong learning, 2) foster interest and participation in community, national, and world affairs, and 3) reflect Wyoming's and America's culture and heritage.


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