More Coloradans than ever live near wildfire zones

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Jessy Ellenberger made this photo from the deck of her home north of Granby, Colo., just before sunset on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. Residents in and around a gateway town to Rocky Mountain National Park have evacuated and the park was closed after one of several fires burning in northern Colorado exploded late Wednesday. The damage to the Grand Lake area from the East Troublesome Fire was not clear as of Thursday morning. (Jessy Ellenberger via AP)

DENVER (KDVR) – The blazes at Cameron Peak, CalWood and East Troublesome Creek shine a spotlight on the growing numbers of Coloradans near wildfire areas.

The Colorado Forest Service uses the term wildland-urban interface to describe areas where human structures meet wildfire fuels. As Colorado saw a flood of newcomers in the 2010s, the amount of residents in these areas boomed.

As of 2017, approximately 2.9 million people live in Colorado’s wildland-urban interface, up from 2 million people just five years earlier. The new figure represents more than half of the state’s total population.

Colorado State Forest Service map of Wildland-Urban Interface areas.

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