The national media and much of America is watching the Colorado wildfire drama in rapt, apocalyptic fascination. For those who are just now recognizing the scope of the disaster, S&R has been writing about this (and predicting it) for some time now. If you’d like to better understand the causes of the explosion of wildfires in the summer of 2012, here’s a quick set of links to get you caught up.
- Will 2012 be the summer when Colorado finally burns to the ground?: Back in March we were talking about the specific conditions that have, in fact, caused these runaway fires. And hoping for rain that never arrived.
- Vanishing act: Drought and unseasonable warmth sends Colorado’s snowpack into freefall: Analysis from Tom Yulsman of the University of Colorado Center for Environmental Journalism addressing the drought and this winter’s extremely low snowpack.
- Why is Colorado on fire? Climate effects aren’t always as obvious as the weather…: Some important detail on how climate disruption was very good for the pine beetle.
- Tell pols to step up: Time to invest in fixing infrastructure woes: By the way, wouldn’t it be nice if our insanely brave and dedicated firefighters had better tools to work with?
- NYTimes Green blog: Burning Colorado forests may not regenerate: If you’re looking for a silver lining and aren’t too picky about where you find it, this might be the last forest fires these areas ever see.
None of this puts out a fire or saves a home, but there’s value in understanding those pictures you’re seeing on the news in context (because corporate news outlets aren’t likely to help their viewers to the deeper truths underlying the images). Perhaps if we do a better job of grasping why the summer of 2012 is playing out this way, then future summers might be less this way….