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Two largest wildfires in Colorado history are burning at the same time, 10 miles apart

Two largest wildfires in Colorado history are burning at the same time, 10 miles apart

FORT COLLINS — The two largest wildfires in Colorado history are now burning at the same time.

About 700 square miles of wildfires are burning in Colorado, contributing to the 940 square miles  set ablaze in the state since July 31.

The Cameron Peak Fire, which was first reported Aug. 13, is the largest since records have been kept — about 320 square miles. The East Troublesome Fire, which was first reported Oct. 14, is No. 2 on the list at about 265 square miles.

Colorado’s one-time largest fire, Pine Gulch, also occurred this year. It’s the only major fire in the state to be completely contained this year, which occurred Sept. 24. It burned about 217 square miles north of Grand Junction. The Cameron Peak fire surpassed it Oct. 14. The East Troublesome Fire surpassed it Thursday.

Scenes of the East Troublesome Fire.

More Photos: Colorado wildfires have forced the closure of Rocky Mountain National Park. These images show orange skies, towering smoke.

Cameron Peak and East Troublesome are about 10 miles apart.

“There’s certainly the potential” for the two fires to come together “given the alignment of some of the drainages and wind patterns that may occur,” East Troublesome Fire incident commander Noel Livingston said in a Thursday evening update.

But it’s not likely, he said.

The 275 square-mile Mullen Fire is also burning partly in Colorado, though most of it is in Wyoming.

One of the drivers of the unprecedented late wildfire season is the drought gripping the state. Colorado has been unusually dry since spring. Coupled with the vast majority of 5,300 square miles of lodgepole and ponderosa killed by the mountain pine beetle in the past few decades, there’s a lot of fuel for wildfires.

The Cameron Peak, East Troublesome and CalWood fires (about 10 miles from Boulder) have displaced thousands of Coloradans. The American Red Cross is currently serving an estimated 2,000 evacuees.

Colorado’s largest wildfires

1. 2020, Cameron Peak, 323 square miles (as of Oct. 23)

2. 2020, East Troublesome, 266 square miles (as of Oct. 23)

3. 2020, Pine Gulch, 217 square miles

4. 2002, Hayman, 215 square miles

5. 2018, Spring Creek, 169 square miles

6. 2012, High Park, 136 square miles

7. 2002, Missionary Ridge, 110 square miles

8. 2018, 416 Fire, 82 square miles

9. 2008, Bridger, 73 square miles

10. 2012, Last Chance, 69 square miles

Source: Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center and Colorado State Forest Service

Follow Miles Blumhardt on Twitter @MilesBlumhardt

Contributing: Kelly Lyell, Bethany Baker, The Fort Collins Coloradoan.

This article originally appeared on Fort Collins Coloradoan: East Troublesome Fire, Cameron Peak Fire: largest in Colorado history

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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Christine Watkins

Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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