Wildfires are burning higher in the West, threatening water supplies

By Joshua Partlow
The Washington Post
September 22, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Two years ago, the East Troublesome wildfire in Colorado’s Arapaho National Forest raced up the slopes of the Rocky Mountains, at one point crossing over the Continental Divide amid 12,000-foot-tall peaks. It would become the second largest wildfire in state history, and started on the same October day that the Cameron Peak fire would be crowned Colorado’s largest ever fire. …the two massive 2020 blazes represented prime examples of a troubling trend: wildfires are burning at higher altitudes in the major mountain ranges of the West, including in areas that are normally cloaked in deep snows in winter. Winter snowpack that melts slowly in the spring and summer is a primary water source for the West. And so these trends of more fire at higher elevations and faster melting represent “a major threat to a critical water reservoir for the region,” said Dan McGrath, a Colorado State University scientist.

Read More