Northwest Colorado wildfire burns 20,000 acres

The Alkali fire in northwestern Colorado rapidly burned 20,000 acres in less than 24 hours as of Thursday, and remains the only sizable wildfire to hit the state this fire season.

The fire was discovered north of Maybell around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, 9News in Denver reported. The cause remains under investigation. Thus far, the fire has not prompted mass evacuations, but it has destroyed a part-time home and barn and killed three cattle.

It’s been a remarkably quiet fire year for Colorado following two back-to-back years of devastating wildfires in the state. In 2012, the Waldo Canyon fire burned 347 homes in western Colorado Springs, while the Lower North Fork and the High Park fires in Northern Colorado burned hundreds of homes and thousands of acres.

The destruction of that summer was only surpassed by the Black Forest fire in 2013, which destroyed 486 homes east of Colorado Springs and burned under 16,000 acres.

Like much of the west for the past decade, Colorado has been plagued by drought until this year. Torrential rains in September 2013, while killing 10 people and causing massive flood damage statewide, gave the state a much needed reprieve from tinder-dry conditions.

There are a few areas of the state that are still abnormally dry, including Moffat County, in the state’s northwestern-most corner.

U.S. Drought Monitor
U.S. Drought Monitor

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