The Best & Latest Info to Track the Wildfires in Colorado
The Colorado wildfire season is off to an early and destructive start due to a combination of low snowfall during the winter, drought conditions, record heat, and low humidity. One of the largest wildfires in state history has burned more than 85,000 acres, and two other wildfires have been menacing the major cities of Colorado Springs and Boulder.
The Waldo Canyon Fire has destroyed dozens of homes on the western side of Colorado Springs, and prompted at least 32,000 people to evacuate their homes on Tuesday after a sudden wind shift caused the flames to advance on the city. In Boulder, the Flagstaff Fire is the top concern, which grew rapidly after being started by a lightning strike on Tuesday. More thunderstorms, dropping little rain but producing lightning, were in the area again Wednesday.
According to the Denver Post, the wildfires are “shaping up as one of the biggest disasters in Colorado history.” This timelapse video shows the Waldo Canyon Fire as it neared Colorado Springs on Tuesday night.
State and local media are among the best sources for wildfire information, and social media is once again proving vital in communicating everything from the latest evacuation orders to pictures of affected areas.
The Denver Post has comprehensive coverage online, including a live blog and photo gallery, as does the Colorado Springs Gazette. For Boulder-specific information, check out the Boulder Daily Camera's website.
The Twitter hashtags to follow include: #highparkfire, #waldocanyonfire (the fire near Colorado Springs), and #flagstafffire (the fire near Boulder). There are many atmospheric scientists and science writers in the Denver and Boulder areas, and some of them have been tweeting throughout the fire events. Science journalist Hillary Rosner's (@hillary_rosner) Twitter feed chronicled an anxious night close to the Flagstaff Fire, for example. Television Meteorologist Mike Nelson's Twitter feed also has fire-relevant information, as does Matt Meister.
For official wildfire statistics, Inciweb is the most comprehensive source of data, and the National Weather Service is operating special websites to provide detailed weather information for major Colorado fires, including Waldo Canyon and Flagstaff. Google also has its own wildfire maps available now.