AUnimaginable fires ripped through more then 1,000 homes and other buildings in the flat, treeless suburbs just outside Denver.
Everyone in the Front Range and on the Colorado plains should be able to understand what happened this week, when the Marshall Fire forced many residents of the Superior and Louisville areas from their homes, some of them permanently.
Colorado has become all too familiar with wildfire, far beyond what it has been for centuries. And winter grassland fires, though rare, aren’t unknown.
The Marshall Fire was a different story.
The fire spread from house to house without any dense or sparse forests of trees. The fire began in grassy fields, and then it exploded into flames. It moved from one house to another, much like mountain wildfires that move from tree to tree.
As millions of wood houses were built with asphalt roofing, they became a great source of fuel.
Not just a few houses were set on fire, but hundreds upon hundreds. It happened in just a few hours, not over a period of days or weeks.
While the drought-stricken region and notorious front-range winds created ideal conditions for such a disaster, this can, and probably will, happen again — because of human-created climate change.
That’s according to an indisputable vast majority of all kinds of scientists, researchers and what we can all plainly see.
The worst part? Expect more of these types of catastrophes, more often.
It’s not just a Colorado problem, nor even an American one. Amazing floods decimated German towns this year. Similar events took place in China. Just last month, entire communities across the South were wiped out by packs of tornadoes — in December.
Hurricanes can cause deluges that are far from landfall, flooding subways and homes across the country.
Shuang-Ye Wu Ph.D., an environmental scientist with a focus on climate change and a professor from University of Dayton, stated that science and conclusions can be backed up. Atmospheric temperature has risen due to the so-called greenhouse gas increase from human activity. These changes have a clear impact on the United States and other countries, Wu and others claim.
Dry climates are becoming more dry, while wetter environments are becoming more humid.
It isn’t that the foothills along the Front Range from Boulder to Colorado Springs aren’t accustomed to occasional hurricane force winds. It becomes a recipe for disaster when you add in the endless drought needed to produce natural fuel. This is what scientists and common sense predict will happen again.
For decades, we have either ignored or failed to respond to a clear, constant call for immediate changes that are not a threat to future generations, but a very serious danger to all of our lives, right now.
Photographers captured images of ashes piled up where once stood houses and apartments. It was hard to tell which were homes for Trump voters or Biden. The fires consumed expensive gallery furniture from one home as well as hand-me downs from another.
Global warming and the growing threat it poses to all of us is not a problem of politics. It is a problem that must be solved.
And it’s not a problem just for the Greeks or people along the coasts or just the Southern states.
It’s a crisis for all of us, including the metro area.
We need to press Colorado and the United States to make global warming a priority. It is a crisis that could wipe out 1000 homes in just hours. While we stand by helpless, it is a crisis that can destroy 1,000 homes in just hours.
There is no room left for debate. Democrats as well as Republicans must act together to reduce greenhouse gas emission quickly and meaningfully, before unimaginable weather and environmental anomalies become inexorable and unstoppable.
If your elected representatives in Congress, the Legislature, the state and even your county and town council don’t understand the threat and don’t provably act on it, fire them.
The non-political issue is not whether we should abandon fossil fuels, which have caused this and will make it worse. The question isn’t when. It’s a question of how we do this now.
Boulder County saw last week that arguments that changing energy sources was the cure for climate changes were blown away.