Wildfires as an Effect
of Climate Change

Climate change has increased the intensity, extent, and duration of the wildfire season, particularly due to prolonged dry conditions and reduced soil moisture. Wildfire suppressions in the past century and land management policies have also promoted biomass accumulations which have contributed to frequent large wildfires—events that were rare under natural fire regimes.

Impacts of Wildfires

Three of the largest fires in Colorado occurred in 2020, with a total area of 541,482 acres burned. An increasingly high number of homes in wildland urban interface areas have also elevated wildland fire to a growing public safety concern, causing catastrophic damage in the last two decades. The most recent example of this is the Marshall Fire, which destroyed over 1,000 structures in Boulder County in December of 2021.

Effects of Greenhouse Gas Pollution on Wildfires

To further understand the impact wildfires are projected to have on our state, visit our wildfire emissions and risk maps. These maps show, at the census tract level, the impact emissions from fossil fuel pollution will have on Colorado by mid-century, and communities at risk of experiencing extreme wildfire behavior if we continue with the status quo.

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