Out-of-control wildfires near popular tourist areas of Colorado have been spreading over tens of thousands of acres at a rapid pace, with nearly half of the United States’ airborne fire equipment put to use on June 25. The fires ripped through southwestern Colorado, northeastern Colorado, and various places in between.
As noted in the photo above, red indicates current fires up in flames. The largest smoke levels came from the High Park and Weber Fires. The High Park fire started by lightning on June 9, and so far has torn through 83,205 acres, making it the second-largest fire in Colorado’s history. 2,000 people and counting have been brought in to fight the fire. As of June 25, it was 45% contained and had destroyed 248 homes.
The Weber Fire started on June 22 due to an unknown cause. As of the 25th it had burned nearly 8,300 acres and was being fought by 164 firefighters. Severe wind gusts are responsible for a large portion of the spread.
Unfortunately this isn’t even all of it. As of the 25th, the Little Sand Fire had burned 21,616 acres, the Waldo Canyon Fire took over 3,446 acres, and the Woodland Heights Fire consumed 27 acres, which was small but powerful enough to destroy 22 homes.
Aside from these tragic flames, Colorado has also been dealing with triple-digit temperatures. The state experienced an exceptionally dry spring with unusually heavy snowfall preceding it, and by the time June hit, conditions ranging from unusually dry to extreme drought had come into effect.
These are not as large as the 2002 season, which experienced the largest fires in Colorado history, but the current flames are causing considerably more damage. Between extreme drought and fuel conditions, the weather is not making it any easier to contain. Evacuations continue to occur.
via Nasa Earth Observatory
Image credit: NASA