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The environment desk at Aspen Public Radio covers issues in the Roaring Fork Valley and throughout the state of Colorado including water use and quality, impact of recreation, population growth and oil and gas development. APR’s Environment Reporter is Elizabeth Stewart-Severy.

PitCo to update natural hazard plans

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy
Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County’s plan for dealing with natural hazards is due for an update. The 2017 edition will consider climate change impacts.


Counties are required to update their Hazard Mitigation Plans every five years. This is meant to reduce risks and help governments respond to natural disasters, like landslides, flooding and wildfire.

For the first time, Pitkin County is considering how climate change could exacerbate these hazards, especially fire.

“Wildfire season is getting much longer than it used to be and fires are burning hotter and longer and more intensely than ever before,” said Valerie MacDonald, Pitkin County’s Emergency Manager.

This will also be the first time that dangers from dams are included. There are two high hazard dams in the county, Ruedi and Grizzly.

The first discussion is Wednesday, June 7, at 9:30 a.m. at the Aspen Fire Station and is open to the public.

Aspen native Elizabeth Stewart-Severy is excited to be making a return to both the Red Brick, where she attended kindergarten, and the field of journalism. She has spent her entire life playing in the mountains and rivers around Aspen, and is thrilled to be reporting about all things environmental in this special place. She attended the University of Colorado with a Boettcher Scholarship, and graduated as the top student from the School of Journalism in 2006. Her lifelong love of hockey lead to a stint working for the Colorado Avalanche, and she still plays in local leagues and coaches the Aspen Junior Hockey U-19 girls.
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