Iowa Public Television


Western Tinderbox Ignites.

posted on June 14, 2002

Hello, I'm Mark Pearson.

It has been another difficult week for the nation's financial community. Stock prices fell sharply this week on news that wholesale inflation was lower and retail sales had fallen. Normally weaker inflation would hearten investors, but many are beginning to view it as indicative of a weaker, less active economy.

Moreover weaker inflation encourages lower interest rates. More investors are choosing to put their dollars into new homes rather than into shares of a corporate America that is increasingly viewed with greater distrust.

As typical in Rural America the weather sometimes is a much more demanding concern as economic trends.


The largest wildfire in the state of Colorado's history continues to burn despite the best efforts of thousands of firefighters.

The blaze south of Denver has been burning for nearly a week and is one of 6 major fires burning in the Rocky Mountain State. Authorities claim the "Mile High City" isn't in any danger yet, but they say the fire could burn the entire summer if the tinderbox-dry region doesn't get adequate rainfall.

So far, the wildfire has charred nearly 100,000 acres and officials claim it could eventually scorch twice that amount if winds and weather don't cooperate with weary firefighters.

A look at current conditions in the intermountain west fosters the outlook of a long, dry summer. Throughout the region the vast majority of pasture and rangeland is rated in poor to very poor condition.

And in the high plains, the arid conditions are pushing some ranchers to sell off their herds. In South Dakota, where soil moisture is 4-to-6 inches below normal, one livestock sale reported 4,400 cattle were auctioned off last Friday. Typically, only about 600 would have been sold.


Tags: crops drought fire news weather