Just a year after record snowfall throughout much of the Rocky Mountain West, the region is locked in a snow drought not seen since Jimmy Carter surrendered the White House to Ronald Reagan in the early 1980s. The record dry conditions have lawmakers and industry observers extremely concerned about looming water shortages and wildfire danger.
Posts Tagged Wildfires
Despite the recent round of wet weather in Colorado – including some snow above 12,000 feet – Colorado politicians and fire officials warned fall can be one of the most active seasons for wildfires.
The foothills and flatlands of Colorado’s Front Range in and around Denver have so far only seen about a third of the average snowfall typical for this time of year, making March – normally one of the wettest months – an unusually active time for wildfires.
It’s hard to imagine nearly 2 million acres of dead and dying lodgepole pine trees being anything more than a terrible eyesore and potential fuel for a catastrophic wildfire.
But Vail Town Councilman Mark Gordon says those trees could provide nearly 100 percent of the ski resort town’s hot water and electricity needs, and he envisions a biomass gasification power plant becoming a model for the rest of the state.
Forest Service scientists have been hard at work conducting a study concluding a nice cup of herbal tea may be the best way to soothe Colorado’s ailing lodgepole pine forests, where bark beetles have killed millions of acres over the last decade.
A new U.S. Geological Survey study paints an ominous picture for the nation’s western forests, finding that the mortality rate for trees has doubled over the last several decades because of rising temperatures and dwindling water supplies tied to global waming.
The Colorado Independent’s Jan. 9 article “Michael Brown, FEMA and the bark beetle: Talk about your looming disasters” identified the looming threat of a catastrophic wildfire in Colorado’s pine beetle-ravaged forests. Unfortunately, the article failed to recognize two important facts regarding the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) involvement in this important issue: 1) FEMA Region VIII, based in Denver, has been working collaboratively with local, state and federal partners to prepare for such a fire, 2) federal law prevents FEMA from using taxpayer money to simply clear beetle-ravaged forests.
Wind-whipped wildfires that chased disgraced former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director Michael Brown from his Left Hand Canyon home near Boulder Wednesday carried with them the scent of even richer irony than the mainstream media stumbled all over itself to report on Thursday.
Somethings you just can’t live down. When 1,836 people die, 700 still remain missing, millions more are displaced from their homes and the nation suffers billions in property damage and recovery efforts lag years later that albatross should be tightly wound around one’s neck for a long, long time.
Unless, of course, you’re being interviewed by the crack Colorado Morning News crew on Newsradio 850 KOA.
Hurricane Katrina victims take note. Michael Brown is safe.
A series of wind-whipped wildfires north of Boulder, Colo., have forced the evacuation of more than 11,500 residents — among them vilified ex-Federal Emergency Management Agency head Michael Brown.
UPDATE 1/8/09: Hear Brown recount his harrowing fire evacuation and couch-surfing adventure while a wildfire refugee on Newsradio 850 KOA.
UPDATE 1/9/09: Read Colorado Media Matters’ coverage of the Newsradio KOA 850 interview with Michael Brown.