Wildfires

12:57am

Wed October 16, 2013
Environment

Fuel In The Fire: Burn Wood For Power Or Leave It To Nature

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 10:59 am

At more than 400 square miles, the Rim Fire is the largest Sierra Nevada fire in recorded history.
Mike McMillan US Forest Service

The record-breaking wildfire in Yosemite National Park is almost fully contained, two months after it started. The blaze calls attention to a problem across the western U.S.: After a century of having its fires routinely extinguished, the forests are overloaded with fuel.

A heated debate has flared up about what to do with that forest fuel. California is hoping to reduce its fire risk through renewable energy, but some worry about the environmental costs of thinning the forests.

'It Was Torched'

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3:45pm

Tue October 8, 2013
Colorado Flood

Flood Forensics: Why Colorado's Floods Were So Destructive

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 8:25 am

Flooding brought down a house in Jamestown, Colo., on Sept. 18.
Matthew Staver Landov

Parts of Colorado are still drying out after floods hit the state last month. Eight people died, and damage from the worst flooding in decades is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Scientists are now venturing into the hardest-hit areas to do a sort of "flood forensics" to understand why the floods were so bad.

Geologist Jonathan Godt takes Peak Highway in northern Colorado up into the Rockies. The road there winds past ravines and streams where water is still rushing.

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4:22pm

Sun September 29, 2013
Environment

Is Living With Extreme Wildfires The New Normal?

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 3:02 pm

A house destroyed by a wildfire in Yarnell, Ariz. Experts say increasing expansion into wildfire-prone areas has created new challenges for firefighters unequipped to protect houses and structures.
Andy Tobin AP

It has been a deadly year for the people who fight wildfires. In total, 32 people have lost their lives fighting fires in 2013; the highest number in nearly 20 years, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Just one incident accounts for most of those deaths, the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona. In June, the blaze blasted through a firefighting crew known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots; 19 of the 20 men died.

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2:10pm

Sat September 28, 2013
The Two-Way

Report On Arizona Hotshots' Deaths Finds A Communications Gap

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 2:40 pm

A map shows the movements of the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew as they fought the Yarnell Hill fire in late June.
Arizona State Forestry Division

The 19 firefighters who died after being trapped by an Arizona wildfire in late June were only about 600 yards from a designated safety zone at a ranch, according to a task force formed by the Arizona State Forestry Division to investigate the firefighters' deaths.

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9:52am

Sat September 7, 2013
The Two-Way

Rim Fire Is Third-Largest Wildfire In California's History

Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 11:00 am

A charred tree rests on the forest floor after being sawn down to a stump Friday. Firefighters are still working to contain the Rim Fire, which is now the third-largest wildfire in California's history.
Mike McMillan U.S. Forest Service

The Rim wildfire that began three weeks ago today is now 80 percent contained, officials say, but it has burned more than a quarter of a million acres, and it may continue to grow, thanks to low humidity and other conditions.

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