December Urban Wildfire
December urban wildfire. Three words thought unimaginable to exist in the same sentence. That was the case until Thursday, December 30, 2021. Chinook winds ahead of an incoming cold front with gusts from 60mph to more than 100 mph carried fire over a suburban landscape classified by NOAA as under extreme drought. While not the largest wildfire in Colorado’s history, at ~6,000 acres the devastation caused by the Marshall Fire in Boulder County has earned it the designation of the most destructive wildfire ever to occur in the state. To date, the Boulder County Office of Emergency Management is reporting 1084 structures lost, 149 damaged, 1 person missing, 1 confirmed fatality, and thousands of residents displaced.* The cause of the fire is still under active investigation.
Boulder County is home to the North Central Climate Adaptation Science Center and CIRES at the University of Colorado. Our hearts go out to all who have been impacted by this event, many of whom are our families, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.
*This story has been updated to reflect current statistics.