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Colorado Edition: Feeling The Heat

Pine Gulch Fire
Extreme fire behavior in the Pine Gulch Fire the night of Aug. 18.

Today on Colorado Edition: we’ll learn about how climate change is impacting wildfires. And, we’ll hear from a local meteorologist about a new smoke forecasting model. Finally, we’ll get the latest on foreclosures in our state, and talk with a reporter who’s about to embark on a cross-West bike trip.

Wildfires And Climate Change

According to a list compiled by The Denver Post, the state’s top 10 largest wildfires have all taken place in the past 20 years. And the Pine Gulch Fire burning north of Grand Junction is on track to eclipse the 2002 Hayman Fire as the largest in our state’s history.

So why is our state seeing all of these record-breaking fires?

We reached out to Jennifer Balch, a fire scientist and director of Earth Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder to help answer that question.

Modeling Smoke

It’s tough not to notice the heavy layer of smoke from the multiple wildfires burning across the state. At this point, some people are wondering when – and where – it might be safe to spend time outside and how to avoid the smoke.

A new and powerful tool from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, can help out by predicting smoke conditions in specific locations, up to 48 hours in advance.

The new tool is part of a complex weather modelling system called High Resolution Rapid Refresh, or HRRR for short. Curtis Alexander, a meteorologist working for NOAA at the Global Systems Laboratory in Boulder, joined us to explain how the model works and how it can be used.

Foreclosures And The Real Estate Market

As the economic toll of the coronavirus continues to be felt across our state and the country, today we’re going to learn more about the pandemic's impact on real estate.

Chris Wood from BizWest has been looking into foreclosures in Colorado, and he explained what’s going on.

Biking Across The West

On Thursday, reporter Nate Hegyi from the Mountain West News Bureau is going to start out on a 900-mile bicycle trip across the western part of the country to talk with folks ahead of the 2020 election, as part of the nationwide America Amplified reporting project.

He’ll start Thursday in Missoula, Montana, and end in Greeley, Colorado some time in September. He joined us with more on his plans.

Colorado Edition is made possible with support from our KUNC members. Thank you!

Our theme music was composed by Colorado musicians Briana Harris and Johnny Burroughs. Other music in the show by Blue Dot Sessions:

  • “A Rush Of Clear Water” by Glacier Quartet - Araby

Colorado Edition is hosted by Erin O'Toole (@ErinOtoole1) and Henry Zimmerman, and produced by Lily Tyson. The web was edited by digital editor Jackie Hai. KUNC news director Brian Larson is our executive producer. We get production help from Rae Solomon.

KUNC's Colorado Edition is a news magazine taking an in-depth look at the issues and culture of Northern Colorado. It's available on our website, as well as on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can hear the show on KUNC's air, Monday through Thursday at 6:30 p.m., with a rebroadcast of the previous evening's show Tuesday through Friday at 8:30 a.m.

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