"SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Predictably, the clash of the titans ended loudly Tuesday. With the U.S. attorney's office in Sacramento and lumber giant Sierra Pacific Industries Inc. trotting out competing versions of a settlement's meaning, their epic legal match over who started the Moonlight fire and who should pay for the damages is closed."
"It took less than an hour last month for a Montana wildfire to reduce Scott McRae's ranch to thousands of blackened acres devoid of the grasses that were to sustain hundreds of cattle."
A large and diverse array of businesses have an interest in the environmental and energy laws that state legislatures consider: including coal, oil, plastics, chemicals, mining, forest products, and others. The possible financial stake lawmakers may have in the bills before them is fertile ground for investigation. Here's help in finding story ideas.
"The worst wildfire season in decades is not only blackening tens of thousands of acres in Western states; it is also creating significant environmental damage."
"To date in 2012, more than 173,000 acres have already burned in Colorado, destroying more than 600 homes and taken six lives, 7News reports. Now with 4th of July approaching, the heat combined with relative low humidity and unseasonable dryness has firefighters saying that fireworks are "not worth the risk" this year during the worst wildfire season in a decade."
"After several years of relatively benign fire seasons, the West is headed into a hot, dry summer of potentially ferocious blazes like the ones that have scorched Colorado in recent weeks."
"Residents began returning to charred areas of Colorado Springs on Sunday after the most destructive wildfire in Colorado's history forced tens of thousands of people from their homes and left the landscape a blackened wasteland."
"Bears and burglars posed further danger to home owners who headed back to towns and cities after the fire, which killed two people.
The so-called Waldo Canyon Fire has scorched 17,659 acres, burned 346 homes and devastated communities around Colorado Springs, the state's second-largest city, since it began eight days ago.
"This last week, record temperatures and wildfires have scorched the western United States. The National Climate Data Center reports that 41 heat records (at various of 6,027 weather stations around the country) have been broken or tied since Sunday, mostly in Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska, which is quite unusual for this time of year."
"COLORADO SPRINGS -- Firefighters struggled on Wednesday to beat back a fiercely aggressive wildfire raging at the edge of Colorado Springs that has forced at least 35,000 people from their homes and was nipping at the edges of the U.S. Air Force Academy."
"Thousands flee homes as western wildfires persist. Colorado's Governor Gary Herbert estimates the fire has caused millions of dollars worth of damage. Soot and smoke also worry residents."