Colorado Burning: Climate Change And A Record-Breaking Wildfire Season

From Wednesday night into Thursday morning the East Troublesome fire in Grand County, Colorado exploded from 19,000 to 125,000 acres in just 12 hours, driven by wind gusts of up to 60 mph. It is now the fourth biggest fire in state history.

Just north of there, the Cameron Peak fire, a few miles west of Fort Collins, has engulfed over 207,000 acres and it’s still growing. It has now become the biggest wildlife in Colorado history.

The Cameron Peak fire is actually the second fire in 2020 to hold the title of largest wildfire in Colorado history. The Pine Gulch fire near Grand Junction briefly held that title, but for only 7 weeks, having burned 139,000 acres in late summer.

Now 3 of the top 4 largest wildfires in Colorado history have all burned in 2020.

Looking at this in a vacuum, you might think of it as mere coincidence. But zooming out, you need only look two states away in California to find evidence of more unprecedented fires. Six of the 7 largest wildfires in California history have all burned in 2020, and the largest, the August Complex fire, became the state’s first ever gigafire — meaning it burned over 1 million acres, scorching more acreage than the state of Rhode Island.

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