Baltimore, MD - Firefighters again today will battle massive wildfires across numerous states as the combination of high heat, low humidity, and strong winds fuel these massive firestorms. The worst fire ongoing is the Waldo Canyon fire which intensified last night and crossed into the scenic tourist city of Colorado Springs, CO. An apocalyptic plume of smoke was visible prior to sunrise as fire and smoke covered Colorado's second largest city, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes. The 6,200 acre fire remained only 5% contained this morning. Officials labeled it as exhibiting "extreme fire behavior," due to its rapid and unpredictable manner.
Colorado Springs set a record high of 101 on Tuesday as firefighters contended with brutal conditions, including ash falling on highways and neighborhoods. Scorching temperatures have baked the Front Range for several days as thousands of firefighters on the ground and more than 100 planes and helicopters have been battling more than eight wildfires across the state.
T he Denver Post reported that this fire was "shaping up as one of the biggest disasters in Colorado history.
The meteorological reasoning behind the massive wildfire in Waldo Canyon is due to an abrupt change of winds that pushed the fire backwards. The direction and motion of the fire is due to wind direction and speed. A wind shift yesterday allowed for the fire to move back towards heavily populated neighborhoods. This wind shift occurred while firefighters were battling the fire on the front side however, an event known as back building abruptly started (Fire spreading backwards) pushing the fire back down the ridge of Waldo Canyon. The wind shift mentioned was caused by an outflow boundary (strong winds pushed away from a thunderstorm) as strong thunderstorm moved near Denver, CO. Winds were recorded nearing 60 mph yesterday evening, allowing for the fire to spread down the back ridge of mountain shadows.
The forecast for Colorado Springs shows thunderstorms in the forecast with drenching rains. However, flooding could become a concern since the ground is bare preventing it from soaking up any rainfall.
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