CapRadio-California Newsroom unveiled a months-long investigation into the Caldor Fire and how a U.S. Forest Service protection plan fell short. How rising temperatures and wildfires are impacting Northern Nevada’s air quality. Behavioral health specialist offers back-to-school mental health and resources.
Caldor Fire investigation
One year ago today, the community of Grizzly Flats was in the direct path of 150-foot wind-driven flames, chewing through a dense, over-grown forest that had long been a huge threat. That threat became a reality when the Caldor Fire ignited on August 14th, 2021. Two days later one year ago exactly from today, it reached the town of Grizzly Flats. After the smoke cleared and the wildfire marched towards Meyers and South Lake Tahoe, more than 400 of Grizzly Flats’ 600 homes, over two-thirds, were destroyed. The Caldor Fire would eventually destroy over a thousand buildings and was officially fully contained more than two months after it started. About nine months ago, CapRadio and the California Newsroom, a collaboration of public radio stations, NPR, and CalMatters, teamed up to investigate the Caldor Fire. They found the U.S. Forest Service knew Grizzly Flats was at risk nearly two decades ago and had a plan to protect the town, but only a fraction of the work was done to mitigate the danger. CapRadio state government reporter Scott Rodd, CapRadio data reporter Emily Zentner, and the “California Newsroom’s” data journalist, George LeVines joined Insight to share more details of their months-long investigation.
Washoe County's air quality
A heat wave is upon most of Northern California. The Sacramento Valley, northern San Joaquin Valley, and neighboring foothills will see temperatures rise to between 100-109 degrees. This summer so far hasn’t “felt” as hot as last year. If you remember 2021 was the warmest on record in the state and across the country. But there’s one city where the mercury is rising faster than any other city in the nation. According to Climate Central, a non-profit research group, the average summer temperatures in Reno, Nevada have increased by more than10 degrees since 1970, making it the fastest “warming” city in the country. Last summer, residents in Reno and the rest of Washoe County endured both higher temperatures and hazardous wildfire smoke from the Dixie and Caldor fires. Brendan Schnieder, an Air Quality Specialist at Washoe County Health District joined Insight to share how the county is expanding its air monitoring system to gain a more complete picture of the region's air quality, and help its citizens better prepare for hotter, smokier summers.
Back-to-school mental health
It’s time for kids to head back to school. And many students, families, and school staff, are navigating unparalleled times. Mass shootings, COVID precautions, and an ever-more polarizing political climate that directly impacts schools. Students navigating all these external influences can weigh heavy on their mental health, and they might not be equipped or prepared for the pressures. Dr. Nicole Stelter, Director of Behavioral Health for Blue Shield of California, joined Insight to discuss ways to ease the transition for back-to-school mental health.