Published: Dec. 1, 2017 By

Eric Gershon

Marvels of human daring and ingenuity have brought us to sea bottoms and mountaintops, to the moon and back. There’s serious talk of human travel to Mars.

Yet our species’ creativity and self-confidence can also blind us to the natural world whence we sprang and of which we’re part. We forget that towns and cities and the comforts of civilization are our creation. We emerged from something less tame and predictable, and we remain subject to its forces.

Often of late, nature erupts to remind us.

In 2017, hurricanes devastated Puerto Rico and submerged Houston as wildfires vaporized swaths of the American West, most consequentially in California.

Fire demands attention in the West. As Michael Kodas of CU’s Center for Environmental Journalism explains in our cover story, wildfire has grown far more ferocious, a trend expected to continue.

We’ve often engineered our way to safety. Kodas shows us just what we’re dealing with.