Denver Post discusses As Colorado wildfires burn, fears that climate change is causing “multi-level emergency” mount. Heat, aridity, mega-fires and smoke are intensifying faster than projected.
The record-breaking forest fires burning in Colorado even as winter sets in are the latest sign climate warming is hitting the West hard, causing scientists to up their rhetoric and warn it is past time to move beyond planning and start aggressively acting.
“We’ve got to get motivated and stop turning the thermostat up. That is urgent, not a sci-fi thing. It is us turning up the thermostat. It does not readily turn down. The farther we turn it up, the worse it will get,” said Scott Denning, a Colorado State University atmospheric scientist.
Colorado and the West face more hot days and temperatures will shoot higher, scientists say. The rising heat is depleting water and drying soil across the Colorado River Basin and other river basins. Last week, federal authorities classified 97% of Colorado in severe to exceptional drought.