climate change

Climate Change Brings Risk for Winter Fire in Colorado

Drought and unusually warm temperatures makes area vulnerable

Incendio Marshall en Colorado
RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The December fire that ripped through Boulder County, Colorado, this week was rare, but as the climate changes winter blazes may not be unusual in the future.

The ground in Colorado would typically be moist from snow, however in recent months, the state has experienced a severe drought.

Add to that an unseasonably warm fall, and the result was the perfect condition for a fire to flourish.

“Everything is kind of crispy,” said Keith Musselman, a snow hydrologist and assistant research professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. “In addition to the extreme drought, just one- or two-degree warmer days can really dry out the landscape quite a bit more, so everything is that much drier and flammable.”


Contact Us