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‘It’s What Keeps Me Up At Night’: Pitkin’s Emergency Manager Shares How To Be Prepared For Wildfire Evacuation

2018's Lake Christine Fire as seen from Highway 82.
Halle Zander/Aspen Public Radio News
The Lake Christine fire burns on Basalt Mountain on July 4, 2018. The fire, which was ignited by tracer rounds at the Basalt Public Shooting Range, burned 12,588 acres.

This summer, the Caldor fire has burned more than 200,000 acres in the Lake Tahoe area and has forced entire towns to evacuate. It is one of many wildfires that are threatening communities across the West. Could the same type of wildfire burn in Aspen?

Valerie MacDonald, emergency manager for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, says it’s not a matter of if, but when. During the summer months, fire safety and evacuation plans keep her up at night since her job is to promote public safety and emergency response. She is worried that people are unprepared for this type of disaster.

Aspen Public Radio's Halle Zander sat down with MacDonald to learn about fire in Aspen and how the community can prepare.

Halle Zander is a broadcast journalist and the afternoon anchor on Aspen Public Radio during "All Things Considered." Her work has been recognized by the Public Media Journalists Association, the Colorado Broadcasters Association, and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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