As the Denver Post’s Bruce Finley reports, in case you haven’t been outside, opened a window, or breathed deeply in the last few days:
Climate change hit home in Colorado this week, exacerbating multiple environmental calamities: wildfires burning across 135,423 acres, stream flows shrinking to where state officials urged limits on fishing, drought wilting crops, and record temperatures baking heat-absorbing cities.
This is what scientists, for decades, have been warning would happen.
Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday lamented “the hot and dry conditions” and called smoke impacts from the state’s four major wildfires “profound,” noting “poor air quality often can cause COVID-type symptoms.” He banned campfires and fireworks statewide for a month.
The Grizzly Creek Fire burning in Garfield County has effectively severed the Western Slope economically between Eagle and Glenwood Springs, forcing I-70 traffic to divert hundreds of miles. But the much larger Pine Gulch Fire north of Grand Junction, now the second-largest fire in the state’s history, is responsible for a majority of the smoke which has been choking the Front Range for over a week now. Yesterday’s 100-degree record high at DIA came as an historic heat wave continues to bake the state.
The good news is, at some point we’ll have a vaccine. For coronavirus, anyway.