Blog Archives

Smokey Skies

Smokey Skies from Aspen Mountain

Persistent smoke the past few days isn’t just from local fires. Due to an extremely unusual configuration of the jet stream, much of the West is being blanketed in smoke from wildfires raging in California.

Fire Danger: Putting this year in perspective

Smokey the Bear high fire danger

There’s no doubt that fire danger in the Roaring Fork Valley is high. Today the US Forest Service along with Pitkin and Eagle counties put a fire ban in place. And by now we’ve all seen a Smokey the Bear sign with the words “Very High” or “Extreme” but how serious is the danger? The news isn’t good.

Has This Winter Felt Warm to You Too?

While many may shiver at the thought of spending the night outside during the winter season, the ACES Golden Eagle handles cold temperatures just fine. For ACES staff, however, it's hard to imagine the Golden Eagle spending the night out in the cold, so we have heat lamp set up in case temperatures are forecasted to drop below 0° F. Having evolved in the Roaring Fork Valley, the Golden Eagle is well adapted to winter. Just as mammals grow extra thick fur as it gets colder, birds will grow additional down feathers prior to the onset of this harsh season.

Fire Causes in the Roaring Fork Valley

Who starts more fires in the Roaring Fork Valley, Mother Nature or humans? A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that humans ignite the vast majority of wildfires in the US. The research was conducted at the University of Colorado Boulder and examines trends in wildland ignitions and size in the US between 1992 and 2012.

Not Every Number Tells the Same Story

Measuring something is surprisingly complicated. For example, when measuring how ‘big’ a tree is, how do we define size? Is it the height of the tree, or the weight of a tree or maybe its width?  Do we measure height from the ground or from the roots? Is width the diameter of the trunk or the distance between the two furthest reaching branches? If answering the simple question of size is that complicated how do we answer a harder question like “how much forest are we losing?”

Welcoming a New Member to the ACES Family

The ACES family extends beyond our staff and members and includes the amazing animals that help us educate people from all over world. One very special group of animals in the ACES family is our birds of prey, or raptors.

This summer we welcomed a new member to our family, a female Red-tailed Hawk. All of our resident birds have suffered a permanent injury, preventing them from being able to be released into the wild.  Our Red-tailed Hawk has a fracture of her right ulna and radius, which can be seen in the diagram below: