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Fire Update

The High Park Fire has burned 46,820 acres [73.2 miles² 189.5 km²] but is only 10% contained. The weather has been bad for fires, but they are finally beginning to build up personnel to the point where they can begin to make an impact. It is thought that approximately 100 structures of various types have been burned, but the first assessment teams can’t begin work until tomorrow.

It is now the third largest fire in Colorado history, but it will hopefully not surpass the Hayman Fire that burned 138,114 acres in 2002.

Dr Masters looks at the outlook for Western wildfires based on the new weather patterns that are developing.

Among the things he covers are much worse infestations of pine beetles that are ravaging woodlands. The beetles were controlled by hard winter freezes, -40° F/C, that simply are not occurring any more. Not only are they not being killed by the freezes, they can now complete two gestation periods, instead of just one.

I would note that the fire has been burning three times as much private and state land than Federal land [77% vs 23%], but the Federal government has been picking up the cost and providing most of the firefighters, contrary to what some politicians [named Romney] would have you believe. Given the reduced budgets of the agencies involved, this can’t continue, as there is only a finite amount of money available for those agencies unless Congress acts, which isn’t likely.