Tens of thousands of Coloradans were forced to flee their homes Thursday as two fast-moving wildfires — whipped up by wind gusts reaching 110 mph — tore through communities just outside of Denver, engulfing entire neighborhoods in flames and destroying hundreds of buildings.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has declared a state of emergency to help aid the disaster response as officials characterized the late-December fire event as among the worst in the state’s history.
“None of this is normal,” said Colorado state Rep. Leslie Herod (D-8). “We are not OK.”
Experts believe that the combination of months of unusually dry weather, warm Winter temperatures and fierce winds set the stage to create the blazes that meteorologist Eric Holthaus describes. viewed as further evidence that “we are in a climate emergency.”
The Colorado branch of the Sunrise Movement agreed, writing on social media that the fires were “fueled by the climate crisis.” A growing body of evidence This article outlines the extent to which human-caused global warming is causing wildfires to become more frequent and intense in the U.S. as well as around the world.
“People are losing their homes and running for their lives from a fire that started December fucking 30th,” Sunrise Colorado tweeted Before turning its attention towards Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and the Big Oil-friendly He helped create infrastructure law.
“Sen. Manchin, your Exxon highway bill isn’t going to save our homes or our lives,” the group said. “Your greed and corruption is not only torching our future. It’s burning our communities and destroying lives tonight.”
Manchin is a close ally to the fossil fuel industry. blocking progress on Democrats’ Build Back Better Act, a $1.75 trillion reconciliation package containing hundreds of billions of dollars in climate-related investments.
— Sam Boik (@SamBoik) December 31, 2021
The emergency responders are evacuating the cities of Superior, and Louisville. #ColoradoAs many as 20,000 people rush to evacuate
— Dillon Thomas (@DillonMThomas) December 30, 2021
Officially known as “The Marshall and Middle Fork fires”, the blazes have so far destroyed nearly 600 homes and 1,600 acres of Boulder County. Avista Adventist Hospital, which has 114 beds, was forced from Louisville to evacuate its intensive care units.
No deaths and several injuries had been reported as of late Thursday as firefighters worked to contain the damage, an effort they hope will be assisted by a forecasted New Year’s Eve snowstorm.
Colorado Public Radio observed that while the exact cause of the destructive blazes is not yet clear, “early evidence suggests a sparking power line could have ignited the fires.”
“Late-December wildfires aren’t unheard of in Colorado, but the colder fall and winter months used to mean a break from the state’s peak fire season,” the outlet noted. “Scientists and fire ecologists say climate changePowered by human-made carbon emissions has added 78 days to the fire season since the 1970s.”
“So look. Long and hard,” McKibben said. “And then get to work breaking the power of the fossil fuel industry.”