Year in review: Colorado experiences worst wildfire year in history

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DENVER (KDVR) — In the midst of political division and a pandemic, Colorado also experienced the worst fire season in its history. The fires broke national records and together dwarfed most previous years.

The East Troublesome Creek, Cameron Peak and Pine Gulch fires each broke records in the space of a few months. In a single fire season, Colorado saw three of its four largest fires in history.

Previously, largest fire had been the Hayman blaze in 2002, a notorious wildfire year.

Together, these fires burned more than the total wildfire acres of every one of the last 20 years except 2002.

The four largest fires of 2020 combined 574,363 acres, about 92% of the year’s total wildfire burn acreage of 625,317 acres.

These four fires alone burned more than the total acreage burned from 2012 to 2017.

The Cameron Peak, East Troublesome Creek and Pine Gulch fires put Colorado on the national map.

Anything over 10,000 acres is classified as a large fire, in federal definitions. In the last hundred years, the U.S. has only had a little over 200 fires over 100,000 nationwide.

Colorado only had two fires on the list before this year, the Hayman and Spring Creek fires in 2002 and 2018, respectively.

The fires in 2020 added three to the list, trailing some of the country’s historical worsts.

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