Thousands evacuated due to fire in Colorado

Nearly 19,000 people were ordered to evacuate their homes after a massive fire broke out on Saturday evening in Colorado, a US state where fire and drought are recurring crises.

The fire risk was low on Sunday morning, but more than 1,600 residents were ordered to evacuate, according to officials in Boulder, a city of more than a million residents about fifty kilometers from the state capital Denver.

Mike Smith, a fire department official, told a news conference that the fire was now “21 percent under control” and added that no casualties were reported and no buildings were destroyed.

Firefighters try to put out a fire in Boulder, Colorado on March 26, 2022 (Getty Images North America/AFP – Michael Siaglo)

But with fires like this before the start of a more severe summer, “we’re a little worried about the weather to come,” he said.

“Current (weather) conditions are unusually hot, dry and windy for the season,” Daniel Swain, a UCLA University meteorologist, said on Twitter on Saturday.

According to the US Weather Service (NWS) in Boulder, a near-record heat, but less intense than the day before, is also expected on Sunday.

In December, massive fires destroyed entire neighborhoods in this part of Colorado, an unusual occurrence during the winter. Smoke had spread to hundreds of homes, forcing thousands to flee.

Fire in Boulder, Colorado on March 26, 2022 (Getty Images North America/AFP - Michael Siaglo)
Fire in Boulder, Colorado on March 26, 2022 (Getty Images North America/AFP – Michael Siaglo)

Frequent fires in this part of the United States have been particularly devastating in recent years, with unprecedented fires in California and Oregon.

Like much of the American West, Colorado, which is already an arid state, has been battling exceptional drought for many years.

With global warming, the intensity and frequency of drought and heat wave episodes are likely to increase further, creating ideal conditions for wildfires or bushfires.

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