Sunday, May 28, 2023

How bad will Colorado’s 2022 wildfire season be? Experts say new normal is expected

Colorado wildfire season is here. It is now year-round and experts say the state can expect a “normal” heat filled with fires.

There’s already a fire. Some Boulder County residents facing two separate fires were ordered to evacuate on Tuesday and again on Wednesday. Another fire destroyed several homes in Monte Vista on Wednesday. More red flag fire warnings have been issued this month than any other April in the past 15 years, and extreme fire conditions are expected in the Front Range and Eastern Plains on Friday.

Experts say Colorado could prepare for more wildfires and bigger ones as climate change worsens globally, although there are steps people and governments can take to reduce the risk.

“It’s like we don’t know what ‘normal’ feels like now,” Becky Bollinger of the Colorado Climate Center told The Denver Post. Making quotation marks in the air with your fingers.

Colorado didn’t get enough snow to fully recover from the decades-long megadrought in the American West, Bollinger and other meteorologists have said. Not only does this mean that there will not be enough water to recharge dry rivers and reservoirs, but it also means that wildfires may become drier than usual.

Bollinger said that if the snow that the mountains have accumulated melts too quickly, that could spell doom for the summer months, increasing the risk for more wildfires and larger ones. Snowpack can usually freeze in June, she said.

If Colorado’s monsoons don’t bring enough moisture into the summer, Bollinger said the fall could be just as bad.

“We don’t know whether monsoon will come or not,” she said. “They’ve been a lot more fickle to our state in recent years.

The risk continues into the winter months, said Molly Mowry, executive director of the Littleton-based Community Wildfire Planning Center. She noted that the Marshall Fire – which burned through a record number of homes and businesses in Boulder County – spread in December.

These conditions are the result of climate change, Mowry said, but also come from a century of “uncontrolled development” and land management practices that suppress naturally occurring wildfires and use plants and fire fuel in higher than normal amounts. allow deposits.

Currently, Mowry said she is looking at any part of the state with human development as this is where the most immediate risk is to loss of life and property.

Bollinger said he is already concerned about the eastern plains. They are already dry and this summer is also expected to be warmer than normal.

Wildfires will inevitably spark every year, Mowry said, and only a small percentage of them turn into a major catastrophe like a martial fire. However, this percentage increases, as does the frequency and size of fires.

“It’s fair to say that we will have wildfires,” Mowry said. “But will those be disasters? That’s the question.”

Mowry said what the West needed is a change in culture. Coloradans need to understand the increased risk, have evacuation plans in place and prepare a kit full of necessities in case of an emergency strike. They may also cut foliage around their homes to try to reduce the damage caused by fire.

Mowry said city, county and state governments can also strengthen their emergency plans, hire more fire management staff and update land development rules.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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