Scorched Summers: Drought and Fire Then and Now

Blazing heat, parching drought, vicious wildfires -- the summer of 2012 is starting to feel a lot like 2002. Colorado Public Radio looks back a decade to see how that earlier summer is shaping this one. What lessons has the state learned? Which opportunities have been lost? And where do we go from here?


  • Remembering 2002 -- Reporter Eric Whitney takes us back to a summer of flames and thirst.
  • Forest Management -- 2002 taught the Forest Service a lot about keeping forests healthy, but putting that lesson into practice hasn't been easy.


  • Living in the Forest -- Tens of thousands of people have moved to the forests in the past decade, what will it take for them to live there safely? And one lawmaker talks about finding more funding to handle wildfires.


  • Troubled Fields -- Drought is once again parching Colorado farms, but ten years may make all the difference in surviving the season.
  • Cattle on the Block -- 2002 forced many ranchers to the sale barns, and business there is once again booming.


  • Water Wiser -- Cities have gotten a lot more creative with their water supply since 2002, but some things still keep water managers up at night.
  • Visit Smokey Colorado -- A single phrase torpedoed tourism in 2002. This year officials are watching their words, but hasn't been enough to save some towns.

[photo: Justin Domeroski/FEMA 2002]