The Climate and Weather Science Behind the Urban Firestorm Near Denver, Colorado


Greetings and Happy New Year to everybody.

This morning I was up just after 6 am to go live at 7 pm on Canada’s national broadcaster CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) radio’s morning show, for a decent length chat about my climate scientist thoughts on the recent “Don’t Look Up” movie. I first saw the satirical comedy in mid-December at a movie theatre, and then a second time on New Year’s Eve with my family. I was planning on watching a third time yesterday to prep for my interview, but 4 episodes of Outlander nixed that plan.

Here is my interview:

In this video I delve in detail into the urban firestorm that destroyed about 1000 homes near Denver, Colorado in the closing days of 2021.

This was no wildfire; it was an urban conflagration, more reminiscent of the firebombing of Dresden and Tokyo in bombing raids in World War II.

The Denver region was primed for fire having had preconditioning via 150 year record setting dryness, heat, and high winds. This toxic preconditioning just needed a spark to become an inferno.

Downslope winds from the Rocky Mountains reached speeds of 100 mph, knocking over live power lines sparking initial grass and shrub and tree fires. Large chunks of burning embers were carried by the 100 mph winds and fired like missiles against buildings, where they found their way inside homes and businesses via air vents, open windows, cracks under doors, etc. Starting fires within many structures, they quickly engulfed the entire structures, and spared almost no buildings. Bringing to mind similar fires in Paradise, California in 2018 and Lytton, British Columbia in 2021, this fire destroyed almost all structures but seemed to leave many trees unharmed. Any trees downwind and/or in close proximity to blazing structures burned down. However many trees survived, since, I speculate, the burning embers passed quickly through the tree canopies in the 100 mph winds without sufficient time to set the trees ablaze.

One house that was spared, amongst neighborhoods completely razed to the ground belongs to a fellow climate scientist that tweeted out the ordeal. Many climate scientists and wildfire experts and extreme weather meteorologists lost their homes in the Denver suburbs, not being able to afford to live in Denver proper, where they work for NOAA, University of Colorado, and weather risk companies. Huge amounts of data on the fires and smoke plumes was collected by a mobile Doppler on Wheels (DOW) truck and satellite sensors, to be analyzed by scientist including some who lost their homes and neighbourhoods.

A terrible disaster to end 2021 that really points out that almost no place is truly safe from the consequences of abrupt climate change.

Like I say often:
We are living in a climate casino and are all vulnerable to Weather Weirding, Weather Wilding, and Weather Whiplashing within our Climate Casino.

Please donate at my website or on my Paul Beckwith Patreon page to support my research, analysis, and videos as I bring the latest science on abrupt climate system change to you in a jargon free, easily understood format. Stay safe:)


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