Close to Home: Personal Experience Inspires Planning Strategies in Wake of Marshall Fire

CU Anschutz public health expert joins other local researchers in reducing chances of repeat tragedy

Uncertainty and new questions are some of the first things that come to mind for Katherine Dickinson, PhD, assistant professor of Environmental & Occupational Health at the Colorado School of Public Health, when recalling Dec. 30, 2021 – the day of the Marshall Fire.

“Afterward, I tried to write something and then had to take a step back,” said Dickinson, whose home was in the path of the state’s most-destructive fire in terms of structures lost. “I’m still processing my own experience.”

The day of the fire, Dickinson and her family were driving back from the mountains and rerouted to her grandmother’s house in Longmont after receiving calls and texts. The rest of the day brought an anxious wait. She could only watch the news and smoke in the sky as they waited to hear about their home and the status of friends and family. Read more about JPB Fellow Katie Dickinson’s research.