Story at a glance
- The wildfire surpassed the 2020 Pine Gulch Fire for the largest on record.
- The Cameron Peak Fire has grown more than 30,000 acres since Tuesday as it has been driven by high winds and dry conditions and is just 56 percent contained as of Friday.
- The milestone out of Colorado comes as the western United States has faced an unprecedented wildfire season.
A wildfire stoked by unusually high winds in northern Colorado has now become the largest fire the state has ever seen.
The Cameron Peak Fire burning through the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests near Fort Collins has torn through a total of 167,153 acres since mid-August to become the largest wildfire in the state’s history.
The wildfire surpassed the 2020 Pine Gulch Fire for the largest on record. The Pine Gulch Fire burned through 139,007 acres before it was fully contained late last month.
The Cameron Peak Fire has grown more than 30,000 acres since Tuesday as it has been driven by high winds and dry conditions and is just 56 percent contained as of Friday. Winds on Wednesday got up to more than 70 miles per hour, spreading the flames across more than 23,000 acres in one day.
The blaze has destroyed an unknown number of homes and buildings and the cause of the wildfire is unknown and under investigation. Some areas have been forced to evacuate but so far there have been no reports of injuries or deaths.
The entire state of Colorado is experiencing some level of drought, with 38 percent experiencing severe drought and more than 42 percent facing extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
The milestone out of Colorado comes as the western United States has faced an unprecedented wildfire season.
Six of the fires that raged throughout California this year were among the top 20 largest wildfires recorded in the state’s history. The August Complex fire located north of San Francisco burned through a record-breaking 1,030,182 acres and damaged 1,000 structures. More than 4 million acres have been burned in the state this year — more than double the previous record.
Devastating fires have also made their way through Washington state and Oregon, burning hundreds of thousands of acres.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom last month warned the rest of the country that the state’s wildfire season is a taste of what’s to come if political leaders do not start taking climate change more seriously.
“California, folks, is America fast-foward,” Newsom said. “What we are experiencing right here is coming to a community all across the United States of America unless we get our act together on climate change."
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