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Colorado: Highway 13 Fire 60 percent contained

Smoke from the Highway 13 fire rises above the Grand hogback, near Rifle, Colorado. Photo courtesy Inciweb.

Late-season fire danger persists across western Colorado

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Despite windy weather, firefighters have been able to gain the upper hand on the 991-acre Highway 13 fire, burning in oak brush, pinyon-juniper and mixed conifer north of Rifle, Colorado.

Fire experts said the fire was human-caused, but they haven’t yet determined the exact cause of ignition. The fire started right along Highway 13.

According to Garfield County officials, firefighters were working the east and southeast flanks of the fire, where the wind is trying to push it into new fuels. Three heavy helicopters dropping water on hot spots and two single-engine air tankers dropping fire retardant played a critical role Friday, while ground crews secured containment lines on the north and west flanks of the fire.

Smoke from the fire was visible throughout the are, but there is no immediate threat to any structures and no evacuations have been ordered, according to Inciweb.

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Study: Weddell seal reproduction dropped to unprecedented low during unusual Ross Sea ice events

A Weddell seal at a breathing hole. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Overall population remained stable, but emperor penguins the region hit hard by thin sea ice and shifting icebergs

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Dramatic changes in Antarctic sea ice extent and thickness had different impacts on species that breed along the edge of the Ross Sea, with Weddell seals weathering the changes well, while emperor penguins suffered population losses.

A team of Montana State University ecologists who recently published their findings from last year’s observations are headed back to Antarctica to continue their Weddell seal research as part of an important long-term effort to monitor ecological changes in the region. Continue reading

Climate: Drought eases in parts of Colorado

Entire state still at some level of drought, with worst conditions on eastern plains and northwest Colorado

All of Colorado is still experiencing some level of drought.

Colorado, along with most of the central U.S. saw its hottest spring and summer ever.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Drought conditions have eased across parts of Colorado, with Summit County at the bullseye of an area where the level of drought has been reduced to moderate, thanks mostly to above average precipitation in July and August.

July in particular was wet in Summit County, with about double the average precipitation for the month. Eastern Eagle County, including the Vail area, is also in the area where the drought intensity has been reduced, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Continue reading

Gov. Hickenlooper to visit Frisco for forest health session

Two meetings next week to focus on forest and wildfire issues

Summit County residents are invited to a forest health powwow with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. Photo by Bob Berwyn.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Grappling with the aftermath of Colorado’s most destructive wildfire season on record, state, federal and local officials will meet Oct. 12 for a half-day forest health summit at the Colorado History Center in Denver.

And in what could be a condensed preview of the Denver powwow, Gov. Hickenlooper will visit Summit County Oct. 10 to participate in a one-hour forest health and wildfire forum at the Summit County Community and Senior Center (10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.).

“Obviously Gov. Hickenlooper is the headliner … it’s an opportunity for Summit County to share with the Governor concerns, successes and opportunities on forest health,” said county commissioner Dan Gibbs, explaining that the session is partly aimed at sharing information about potential options to protect Colorado communities from a repeat of this past summer’s fires. Continue reading

Morning photo: The birds and the bees …

Backyard buzz …

A red-shafter flicker in Frisco, Colorado.

FRISCO — I’ve often said I’m not a wildlife photographer, but in the past few weeks, I’ve been roaming around with an older Canon EOS that has a pretty decent 75-300 mm zoom lens. Along with some shots of the muskrats living in the backyard pond here in the Lagoon neighborhood, I’ve had a few birds perch long enough for me to get a decent shot or two. I can totally see the fascination with bird and wildlife photography. It’s more challenging — or at least challenging in a different way — than shooting landscapes, and all these birds have their own unique character. Taking the time to try and het photos of them lets you appreciated that. Continue reading

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