Jan 3, 2022
A rare December wildfire raced through at least 9.4 square miles of the suburbs of Boulder, Colorado. The fire wiped out nearly 1,000 homes. At least three people are missing. They are feared dead. 30,000 people were evacuated from the fire. To make the situation worse, a winter storm two days later brought single-digit temperatures. Nearly a foot of snow has fallen. Pipes froze. Relief efforts were hampered.
The cause of the blaze was still under investigation as of Sunday. But experts warned that climate change likely created a perfect storm of conditions for the raging wildfire. They predicted more during future winter seasons. Experts said the ground in Boulder County would normally be moist from snow this time of year. But some 90% of the county is still experiencing a drought. The area has not gotten much snow. Temperatures are warmer than normal.
“Climate change is clearly making the preconditions for wildfires worse across most fire-prone regions of the world,” one climate scientist told NBC News.
Authorities scrambled Sunday to try to provide temporary shelter for those left homeless. The area has little affordable housing. The blaze also left thousands without power or water. Families lined up for space heaters and bottled water.
President Biden approved a disaster declaration for the region. That frees federal aid to provide temporary housing and repairs and cover uninsured property.
Photo from Reuters.
This interactive timelapse displays the effects of rising temperatures in nine locations around the world to illustrate the global challenges of climate change.
This interactive resource allows students to adjust several variables and watch a digital wildfire spread.
Wildfires Are Erasing Western Forests. Climate Change Is Making It Permanent.
This article describes ecological shifts that are occurring in the Western United States, where pine forests are being replaced by shrubs and grasses, particularly after forest fires.