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UNITED STATES – Hundreds of homes were destroyed in a fire in Colorado on Thursday, December 30, and officials say the U.S. state is being hit by strong winds in the wake of the historic drought.
“We know that about 370 houses were destroyed in the Sagamore subdivision. 210 homes may have been destroyed in the Old Town Superior, ”Boulder County Sheriff Joe Belle told a news conference.
The city of Boulder, with a population of over 100,000, is located about fifty miles[50 km]from Denver, the capital of Colorado. This state of the American West is experiencing a historic drought, which has greatly aided the displacement of fires. At least 648 hectares of vegetation in Boulder County were gutted by the fire, which included hotels and shopping centers.
Winds of up to 160km / h in some places extinguished the fire, complicating the efforts of firefighters. Thousands of residents were ordered Thursday to evacuate their homes. These evictions are particularly relevant in Louisville, which has a population of 20,000. According to images posted on social media, another city, Superior, with a population of 13,000, was the target of a full evacuation order, covered in dark smoke on Thursday.
Like most parts of the western United States, Colorado is currently battling a prolonged drought that exacerbates the region’s drought and is prone to fires.
If the latter is a natural component of the climate cycle, their range is increasing, destroying plants and reducing the spread of diseases within it.
With global warming, the intensity and frequency of drought episodes that threaten the food security of the population in particular may increase further, even if temperatures can be controlled to + 1.5 ° C compared to pre-industrial times.
In addition, rising temperatures and rising heat waves and droughts create ideal conditions for forest or shrub fires.
In recent years, the U.S. West has experienced unprecedented fires, especially in California and Oregon.
For UCLA’s meteorologist Daniel Swain, it’s hard to believe that these fires will happen in December, which is generally the quietest time for such events in the region.
“But take only two centimeters of snowfall so far this season in the heat and drought of autumn, and add a storm with extreme downward winds (160 km / h and above) … the result is fire. Very dangerous and move very fast, ”the researcher tweeted.
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