Sunday, August 11, 2013

2012 and 2013: Colorado burns then floods but deniers still deny climate change

Friday night, 8/9/2013
 flash flood running off the burn scar 
bringing down the boulders, rocks, ash and debris..
A water “avalanche” through the quaint town of 
Manitou Springs –

Global Climate change, unfortunately, is a reality. We are in the grip of it and it’s only downhill from here, folks unless and until we as a planet decide to try and do something about it.

I can show graphs and charts of the changing weather patterns, the temperatures rising, the polar caps no longer caps, the glaciers no longer “glaciering”, the current shifts in wind and water currents, the pollution…
 But nothing brings it home like bringing it home.

Colorado is feeling it hard over the past two years.

Last year and again this Spring and early summer, Colorado was hit by wildfires.  As the nation watched videos of firestorms across the state with names like Black Forest, North Fork, The Royal Gorge, Big Meadow,  we spent a month in 2012 and nearly 2 months, this year, inundated by smoke and ash and the smell of burning fat – yep, one huge barbecue except it wasn’t pork ribs and steaks -Well, not the kind one might think about -It was venison, squirrel, hawk, moose, bear, elk, rodent, magpie mixed with pine and aspen.

Colorado is going through drought after drought after drought and with the drought, we now have extended Spring, Summer and Fall seasons and milder winters that have created a phenomena that allows for 2 hatchings of beetle – Pine Bark Beetle to be exact.  

These little pests are killing Colorado’s forests (as well as California’s, Utah’s, Idaho’s, Wyoming’s, New Mexico’s) and that dead wood and brush creates wonderful fuel for fires.  Fires that are set off by lightning, campfires (there really are people who ignore fire warnings in Colorado – I know, go figure), fools shooting off fireworks in dry brush and forest, idiots shooting guns at signs, poaching, and  target practice with propane tanks (yeah, that too).

2013 brought ………

Firestorm 2013 - night time
Firestorm 2013 - Belly of the Beast

Firestorm 2013 - Working the line

And mapping those fires of 2013:

2013 Wildfire mapping

The Waldo Canyon Fire of 2012 is still the most costly fire in the state's history ($453.7 million) and the Waldo Canyon Fire scar is exactly what flooded twice in a little over a month.  Those floods came roaring through Ute Pass off the scar and down the highway into the quaint mountain town nestled in the foothills at the base of Pike’s Peak, called Manitou Springs.

Down Highway 24, At the base of Pike's Peak, between foothills of the Rocky Mountains, by Ute Pass
Manitou Springs.  

Manitou is a town of about 5,000 residents and sits at nearly 6500 feet above sea level. That’s High Country even for Denverites (we are only 1 mile high - 5280 ft.).

 The Fire Scar:

Burn area starting June 24, 2012 and ending at full containment July 4, 2013
Final containment area is the size of the scar

Home videos shot last night as the flood ran through Ute Pass along Hwy 24 and into Manitou Springs:

and here:

But this was not the first flood since the fires . A little over one month ago, July 1, 2013, same Hwy 24, same Manitou Springs:

The gift that keeps on giving - As I stated, the Waldo Canyon Fire was the most costly fire in the state of Colorado and continues to cost the people of Manitou Springs as long as that scar remains.

The growth will eventually come back - an Aspen from the local clonal colony or colonies may pop up, we hope, showing the organism(s) still lives; the grasses and plants - Columbine, groundsels, daisies, paintbrush, skullcaps, milkweeds, dog rose and rabbitbrush - and finally, a pine tree may pop from a once cracked pine cone..

It will take decades for that scar to recover if no new fire sweeps the walls of the hill.

Unfortunately like 2012 and 2013, we can expect more flames and scars and destruction in Colorado as we see in California, New Mexico, Wyoming, Arizona and every other state in the West. Those fires will move East and keep firing the drying plains, then hills then cities until we have little left...Unless, we as a species stop the raging destruction of our denial.

Global Climate change is real, it is here, it is now and it isn't going to go away by ignoring, thinking "god" will save us or by arguing about whether or not humans caused it - that energy best turned towards determining what we can do, as a species to slow it, stop it, and reverse our damage.

Cross-post from FreakOutNation

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