Record Heat in the East, Record Fires in the West
If you think global warming is a myth, don't tell that to the people along the Atlantic seaboard or the people of the mountain west.
The Waldo Canyon Fire, near Colorado Springs, has now destroyed 346 homes and burned an area of over 200 square miles. It may take the entire summer before this fire is fully contained. Crews are much closer to full containment of the High Park Fire, which to date has consumed 136 square miles and destroyed 259 homes. In western Colorado, the 18 square mile Pine Ridge Fire is only 10 percent contained. Over 32,000 residents in Colorado were evacuated from their homes a week ago, and only now are some of them being allowed to return.
More than 50 homes have been destroyed by a wildfire in central Utah. By Saturday, June 30th, residents were finally being allowed to return home to Indianola, which sits along Utah's scenic Highway 89. As of today, July 1st, eight large wildfires are burning across the state.
In a single day this past week (June 27th), a wildfire that was wind-driven exploded from eight square miles to over 58 square miles. It is not known how many structures were burned, but over 200 are threatened.
In eastern Montana, authorities evacuated several communities on Saturday, June 30th, as the Ash Creek Complex Fires grew from 72 to 244 square miles overnight. The fire has burned over seventy homes and threatens many more. More than 70 homes have been destroyed by this fire.
In eastern Idaho a fast moving 1000 acre wildfire is expected to be fully contained today, July 1st, after it destroyed 66 homes and 29 outbuildings. Over a thousand residents who were evacuated are now being allowed to return to their homes, if they still exist.
Heat in the east
In the past week alone over 1,600 city heat records have been broken from Indiana to South Carolina to New York. Due to a powerful thunderstorm that cut a swath through 500 miles, power went down all along the Atlantic seaboard, and millions of residents are sweltering without the availability of air conditioning. In many places power is not expected to be restored for at least another week, and weather forecasters are promising still more triple digit temperatures ahead. A spokesman for a power company said the damage to the grid all over the east is "catastrophic." In Tennessee, two boys, age three and five, died after playing outside in 105 degree heat. In West Virginia, two children died when they were struck by a falling tree. In Potomac, Maryland, professional golfers played the third round of a tournament to absent galleries, who were told not to come to the course because of the danger posed by branches which were expected to break and fall.
We can expect more climate events like these in the future as a result of the planet's continual warming, unless radical steps are taken to deal with global warming.
Link: Extreme Melting in the Arctic
Fire photos from Reuters
Heat in N.Y. photo from huffingtonpost.com