"To date in 2012, more than 173,000 acres have already burned in Colorado, destroying more than 600 homes and taken six lives, 7News reports. Now with 4th of July approaching, the heat combined with relative low humidity and unseasonable dryness has firefighters saying that fireworks are "not worth the risk" this year during the worst wildfire season in a decade."
Mountain West (CO ID MT NV UT WY)
"BROWNING – On a recent flight over Divide Mountain, a snow-marbled peak that straddles the border between the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and Glacier National Park, Lori New Breast crossed her fingers."
The American Bird Conservancy has gone to court after the Interior Department stonewalled its Freedom-of-Information-Act requests for correspondence between feds and the wind industry on how potential wind projects in 10 states might affect birds and bats.
"Thousands flee homes as western wildfires persist. Colorado's Governor Gary Herbert estimates the fire has caused millions of dollars worth of damage. Soot and smoke also worry residents."
"MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. -- Searing, record-setting heat in the interior West didn't loosen its grip on firefighters struggling to contain blazes in Colorado, Utah and other Rocky Mountain states. Colorado has endured nearly a week of 100-plus degree days and low humidity, sapping moisture from timber and grass, creating a devastating formula for volatile wildfires across the state and punishing conditions for firefighters."
"COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. --The total number of homes destroyed by a two-week old wildfire in northern Colorado was raised to 248 on Sunday as residents of a subdivision near Fort Collins learned that 57 more homes in their neighborhood had been lost, authorities said."
"LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. -- Monday's predicted convergence of high temperatures and gusty winds failed to materialize at the High Park fire — but the day brought news of more destruction as authorities confirmed that another eight homes had been claimed by the flames. That disclosure pushed to 189 the total of residences destroyed in the second-largest wildfire in Colorado history."
"DENVER -- Crews in northern Colorado are facing powerful winds as they battle a blaze that has scorched about 86 square miles of mountainous forest land and destroyed at least 181 homes, the most in state history. Meanwhile, local authorities are focusing on another concern -- looting."
Brandon Loomis, The Salt Lake Tribune public lands reporter, has just won the 2012 Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment for "Our Dying Forests." Brandon and his colleagues will receive the US$75,000 award for this "measured and exhaustive series about the causes of the decline of ancient conifer forests stretching from New Mexico northward to the Canadian border."
"BELLVUE, Colo. -- Massive wildfires in drought-parched Colorado and New Mexico tested the resources of state and federal crews Monday and underscored the need to replenish an aging U.S. aerial firefighting fleet needed to combat a year-round fire season."