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Colorado Mesa University to host the Era of Megafires

Colorado Mesa University’s Department of Physical and Environmental Science announces a critical public film screening and panel discussion about western landscapes and megafires, and the impact of these catastrophic events on communities, landscapes and ecosystems.

Partnering in the presentation is the Grand Junction Fire Department. Paul Hessburg of the US Forest Service will introduce the 60-minute, streamed multimedia presentation, Era of Megafires. The partners have organized a discussion to inform people in the West about risks that wildfires pose to communities. 

“The number of large, severe wildfires has been increasing in the last decade. A future without wildfire isn’t an option, the good news is that we have tools that give us choices about how to better co-exist with fire and smoke,” said Hessburg. The presentation is meant “to convey the conditions that lead to megafires and how they might be managed or mitigated.” 

Professor of Environmental Science, Tamera Minnick, PhD, coordinates the lecture series and believes partnerships are critical to finding solutions to natural resource challenges in the west.

“The panel and screening will demonstrate how science can inform community management and planning around wildfires,” said Minnick.

The Era of Megafires explains how current fire conditions were inadvertently created and identify strategies to reduce the future dramatic and devastating impacts from megafires. 

“The increased fire activity the west is seeing is something we all have to adapt to.” Ellis Thompson-Ellis with Grand Junction Fire says, “This is a great opportunity for local organizations and citizens to come together and begin to understand our risks and what we can do to better prepare our community.”

Additional event partners include the Bureau of Land Management, RiversEdge West and the Clifton Fire Department. Community members and media are encouraged to join the discussion on Monday, October 15 at 4pm in the University Center.