Climate change is expected to exacerbate wildfires, drought and flooding throughout the Mountain West. Some cities are looking at how these changes will affect their town and how they can prepare.
Bozeman, Montana is the latest town to take the plunge. City officials there say they’ll begin a climate vulnerability assessment in June.
“We have, from our perspective, an obligation to consider how these changes will impact our ability to serve the public," said Natalie Meyer, Bozeman's sustainability manager.
She says last year’s record-breaking wildfire season in Montana helped prompt the assessment.
It will look at how the city can cope with more hazardous smoke from fires, increased flooding and severe drought.
“Particularly with the compounding challenge of rapid community growth,” she said.
Bozeman is one of the fastest growing cities in the Mountain West. Meyer says the town is following in the footsteps of other fast-growing cities like Fort Collins, Denver and Boulder, Colorado.
Those towns have undergone similar planning for climate change.
Boise, Idaho the nation’s fastest growing city, has yet to publish an adaptation plan.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.