Wednesday was two months and one day since the Cameron Peak Fire started. The fire had grown to over 134,000 acres since starting way back on August 13th . Before yesterday’s 30,000 acre run the fire was already the state’s third largest in their history. Now, sitting at a record-setting 164,140 acres, the fire surpassed this season’s Pine Gulch Fire which was contained in September at just over 139,000 acres. It is now the largest on record in Colorado State history.
California is Record-Setting Every Year
Colorado isn’t the only state setting wildfire records this summer. California has had a crazy couple of months of large wildfires. Six fires from this summer have already made the state’s top 20 list, which is filling up fast with recent fires. 9 of the top 20 are from the last five fire seasons. Before this summer, California had only seen 1 fire over 300,000 acres in history, now there are 6; including 3 that are still burning. In far northern California, the remote August complex has burned over 1 million acres alone since an August lightning storm ignited many of these.
Oregon’s Historic Fire Season
Similarly, Oregon’s fire from late August sopped the entire region in dangerous smoky conditions while dozens of fires burned across the region. Prompted by a record-setting big east/northeast wind event, over much of the Cascade Range. Five fires burned over 130,000 acres, all making for some of Oregon’s top fires in history.
Still More to Come
This week, fire weather conditions have returned to California raising concerns in the near term. On top of that, CNN reported today that a moderate to strong La Nina could leave the Southwest dry this winter…exacerbating the the threat of wildfire with severe drought. Before the fire season began, we were curious how it might go with less human activity due to the pandemic, but clearly that had little impact on fire ignitions and acreage burned. Unfortunately, we’re leaning towards ‘it may get worse before this nightmare fire season gets better’ scenario.