I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.
By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 6:00 AM GMT on June 27, 2012
Hot and Smelly
For the second time in two weeks I have witnessed the explosive development of a wildfire here in Colorado. I wrote to Jeff Masters about the High Park Fire outside of Fort Collins, which was, say, 40 or 50 miles away from where I saw it start. Today’s fire in Boulder is just outside of the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s (NCAR) Mesa Laboratory. I was out in a field about 6 miles away and there had just been a small thunderstorm where rain almost fell to the ground. In less than 30 minutes the fire covered almost 300 acres; this is an explosion. So far all of the firefighting has been from the air because it has been too furious to fight from the ground.
Here is an amazing picture that I saw in the Boulder Daily Camera, that was taken by Chad Baudoin and posted on Twitter
Figure 1: Eruption of Boulder County, Colorado fire near NCAR taken from Denver. Credit: Chad Baudoin posted on Twitter. (larger)
There are galleries of pictures and videos from the Boulder Daily Camera.
The fires in Colorado right now are overwhelming. 100s of houses have been lost in the state, and the pictures of the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs are simply frightening. (sorry about the advert) (Denver Post Story).
The past few days have been relentless. Denver has seen temperatures above 100 F for 5 straight days, and it was 105 F today. At the weather station closest to where I live, the thunderstorm that started today’s fire stopped the temperature rise at 97.5 F. The dew point was in the high 30s. The ground temperature in the garden about 110 F.
Tonight it all smells of smoke again. It is hard to sleep when the house is 88 degrees and the air smells of smoke. You constantly think of fire. And, in the grand scheme of things, I just linger as an observer on the edge of fire surrounded by still wet fields.
For the last two nights, the moon has set behind the Rockies as a glowing red crescent in the smoky sky. The sunset tonight had a rainbow in the smoke. Sadly, no Wunderphotos from me.
I will get back to my normal form with my next entry.
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