“The fire behavior was so rapid as far as growth and so explosive in behavior that it took a while for ground crews to get to the edge,” Smith said, describing the primary driver of the fire as “heavy, thick and dense dried-out vegetation and steep terrain.”
There are currently 13 wildfires burning in California, according to Cal Fire. The National Interagency Fire Center classifies seven of them as “large.”
So far this year, more than 5,700 wildfires in the state have burned at least 204,000 acres. Compare that to all of 2019, when nearly 260,000 acres of land were destroyed and three people were killed, according to Cal Fire. In 2018 — the state’s worst year on record — 1.9 million acres burned, and 100 people died.
Glenwood Springs residents Tim and Karen Trulove have been watching the giant plume of smoke from their home a few miles away. Tim, who used to be a fire chief, tells Sieg that the fire will likely continue to grow.
“The grasses are dry. The trees and the brush have no moisture in them, because there hasn’t been any for weeks,” Tim Trulove says. “I think it’s as bad as it gets right now, and it’s not projected to get any better.”