Earlier today, the Colorado Department of Health issued an Ozone Action Day Alert for much of the Front Range. It is expected to last through Thursday at around 4 PM.

There are multiple fires burning across the state, including the Lime Gulch Fire in Jefferson County, the Bull Gulch Fire in [...]

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Homes with Highway 83 address that have direct access off Hwy 83 are now on pre-evacuation status. El Paso County Public Health is opening what it’s calling a Public Health Convenience Center for water testing kits, tetanus vaccinations, and public health information.

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Containment on the Black Forest Fire remains at 85%, and the most current assessment shows 509 homes considered total losses. Incident Commander Rich Harvey says they’re expecting some different weather today. It’s expected to be hot and dry, with low humidity. Harvey calls it a test.

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Thousands of evacuees are returning to their homes as the Black Forest Fire north of Colorado Springs reaches 85% containment. But as KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin reports, the number of homes lost has now surpassed 500. Tuesday evening’s latest update shows the total homes destroyed as 509, and assessments continue.

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The latest home assessment shows 509 homes lost, 28 with partial damage, and 3656 appear unaffected. Those numbers are likely to change. The fire remains 85% contained, with 14,280 acres burned. Total cost to-date is just over $7 million.

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More residents under mandatory evacuation orders due to the Black Forest Fire were able to return home today and Incident Commander Rich Harvey declared the blaze 75% contained. As KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin reports, even as thousands return home, the number of burglaries reported remains at four.

Officials have continuously stressed that law enforcement is [...]

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From today’s press conference: The fire is now 75% contained. As of 8 PM, new areas are downgraded from mandatory evacuation status to pre-evacuation status. List is inside this post. The El Paso County Health Department has set up this page for safe cleanup information, but advises contacting insurance companies prior to begin cleanup. Updated home assessment: lost 502, partial damage 18, appears unaffected 3651. Information is subject to change as assessments continue.

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The Black Forest Fire is now 65% contained, yet thousands of displaced residents are still unable to go home, or see what remains of it. As KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, throngs of evacuees now come to the daily media briefings, and their frustrations are growing.

El Paso County Commission Chair Dennis Hisey yesterday began describing [...]

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Officials announced around 6:30 Sunday evening that the Royal Gorge Fire near Cañon City is now 100% contained. Smoke may still be visible due to interior pockets of unburned fuel inside the containment lines, but crews finished mopping up the perimeter today. Command control will transition back to local departments at 6 am. The [...]

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Containment is at 65%. Sheriff Terry Maketa has released four more areas from mandatory evacuation to pre-evacuation status; details inside. Next news conference is at 11:15 Monday.

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The following are downgraded from mandatory to pre-evacuation status:

Howells Rd. (south of Crosslen Lane)
Rainbow Ln.
Crosslen Ln.
Ford Dr.
Lepprechun Ln.
Timber Ln.
Timberlane Ct.
Creekview Rd.
High Meadows Ln.

Here’s the audio from today’s noon press briefing. The next briefing is Sunday at [...]

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A few days into the Black Forest Fire, some local residents are getting outdoors again. Others are still concerned about air quality. KRCC’s Michelle Mercer looked into air quality issues related to the Black Forest Fire.

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Containment is at 55%. Some areas are opening up as of 8 PM to a pre-evacuation notice: The area north of Hodgen Rd. and west of Black Forest Rd., and areas north of Walker Rd. High Forest Ranch will also be downgraded to preevacuation status. Access is from the north. Highway 83, Walker Road, and Meridian Road are still closed. El Paso County has released updated assessments of homes: 483 total loss, 17 partial damage, 3451 appear unaffected. Our notes follow:

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El Paso County’s disaster assistance center aims to connect evacuees with goods and services available. It served more than 200 households Thursday, its first day of operations. As KRCC’s Liz Ruskin found, it was crowded Friday with workers, volunteers and displaced families.

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The fire is 30% contained, says Incident Commander Rich Harvey. The count of houses lost is now 419. There is a community meeting at Palmer Ridge High School, Saturday morning at 10 AM for residents.

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Steve Schopper, Audio/Visual Specialist for the Colorado Springs Fire Department, documented and describes structure protection during the Black Forest Fire. Recorded Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at at approximately 3:30 p.m. Steve gives a behind the scenes look at our firefighters efforts to protect property and save lives.

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The El Paso County Sheriff’s Department has released a new list of damaged properties in the Black Forest Fire, as of 10 PM Thursday night. The count now stands at 379 houses lost, nine partially damaged and 1,813 unaffected.They caution the information is subject to change.

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U.S. 50 has reopened, and all evacuated residents are allowed home. Officials say those residents will remain on a pre-evacuation notice, pending fire conditions. The Royal Gorge Tourist Train can begin running again, once the railway determines they’re ready. River access on the closed sections of the Arkansas River will be re-evaluated on Friday. Containment of the fire is listed at 40%.

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News was mixed during the Thursday afternoon press conference for the Black Forest Fire. Officials declared the blaze at 5% containment, but they also announced that two people perished in the fire. KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin reports.

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa says the two people who lost their lives had been working to evacuate [...]

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Audio: Q & A between host Mike Procell and News Director Andrea Chalfin after the 5PM press conference

Sheriff Terry Maketa:

Firefighting efforts have been somewhat encouraging today. However, the remains of two individuals were recovered. At about 2:30pm remains of one individual were discovered, an hour later, another. They died in an area of [...]

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The fire is 20% contained as of 9:30 this morning, though officials expect high fire activity today. Areas of the fire are burning in fuels that are 20-30% beetle-killed trees. The cause remains under investigation. As of last night, about 20 structures have been lost.

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Next press briefing is scheduled for 5 PM. 360 homes are complete losses, 1205 homes unaffected, 79 could not verify, 14 partially damaged. Estimated acreage burned is 15,000. El Paso County Disaster Assistance Center is open at the Citizen Service Center on Garden of the Gods Road. Expecting a red flag day, no containment to report.

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As of 10:15 PM Tuesday night, officials estimate the Royal Gorge Fire at 3800 acres, with 0% containment. Evacuations include south of US 50 to Canon City; west from Canon City to Parkdale; east from County Road 3A. Red Cross shelter is located at Evangelical Free Church, Canon City. At least three structures have been lost. The fire jumped the Arkansas River canyon, and is within a quarter mile of US Hwy 50 in some areas. Power outages north of Canon City are affecting 350 customers.

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News

July 27, 2014 | NPR · Anne Barnard from The New York Times talks with NPR’s Eric Westervelt about the differences between the current explosion of violence in Gaza and previous ones.
 

July 27, 2014 | NPR · Israel and Hamas carried out a rhetorical battle Sunday over the fate of dueling offers to extend a ceasefire. In the end, the fighting resumed after Saturday’s 12-hour truce. Israel vowed to continue its military campaign, targeting tunnels along the border. Wary Gazans prepared as best they could for the feast that marks the end of Ramadan.
 

July 27, 2014 | NPR · Bloodshed is escalating in Baghdad as the militant group known as the Islamic State seeks to expand its territory in Iraq. NPR’s Eric Westervelt talks to reporter Alice Fordham in Erbil about life under the rule of the radical Islamic group.
 

Arts & Life

AP
July 27, 2014 | NPR · In the Land of Love and Drowning, the islands are a magical setting for three generations of one family living through the modern history of the territory as it passes from Danish to American hands.
 

Courtesy of Silverstone Auction
July 27, 2014 | NPR · The Harrier Jump Jet is known for vertical take-offs and landings. It also has an accident-prone track record, but that didn’t dissuade one pilot from buying his dream plane.
 

July 27, 2014 | NPR · An experiment at a new production of Carmen has many wondering how technology will affect operagoers’ experience. NPR’s Arun Rath talks to Kim Witman, director of the Wolf Trap Opera.
 

Music

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July 27, 2014 | NPR · Inspired by the birth of a child and a new career, Austin Lunn’s triumphant, ebullient new album as Panopticon steps outside his curveball mixture of metal and American folk.
 

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July 27, 2014 | NPR · This English band’s ideas move fast — riffs erupt only to disappear just as quickly. It’s as though they’re chasing super-concentrated bursts of bliss that gather into epic music.
 

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July 27, 2014 | NPR · This singer-songwriter has been through hard times — but you wouldn’t know it from his new album. It blossoms with inventive turns of phrase, quiet affection and a peculiar sweetness.
 

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