Some wildfire experts state that the expansion of communities in Colorado’s Fire Zone during the last decades is an important factor to understand the increasing destruction caused by wildfires of the area. The six most destructive fires in Colorado prior to 2000 destroyed an average of 15 homes, according to the Colorado State Forest Service. However, in the last years Colorado’s wildfires have become increasingly destructive, with the Waldo Canyon fire of 2012 burning down 346 homes.
CIMSS is a Cooperative Institute formed through a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1980. Directed by Dr. Steve Ackerman, CIMSS operates as an institute within the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC).
Scientists of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have identified a distinctive atmospheric wave pattern high above the Northern Hemisphere that can foreshadow the emergence of summertime heat waves in the United States more than two weeks in advance. The study was conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy, NASA, and the National Science Foundation (NSF), which is NCAR's sponsor. NASA scientists helped guide the project and are involved in broader research in this area.
In 1980 Mount St. Helens erupted causing a cataclysmic flank collapse, avalanche, and explosion on May 18. Continental USA experienced its first major eruption during the era of modern scientific observation and the largest landslide in recorded history. The eruption caused tremendous destruction.
On Friday, 13 September 2013, the International Charter "Space and Major Disasters" was activated for the ongoing heavy floods in the US state of Colorado. The mechanism to provide up to date satellite imagery was activated by USGS on behalf of National Guard Bureau/State of Colorado. USGS will also do the project management for this activation.