Colorado Battles Largest Wildfire in State History
For the second time this year, Colorado is battling the largest wildfire in state history.
Strong winds pushed the Cameron Peak fire 17 miles to the east Tuesday and Wednesday, Wildfire Today reported. It burned more than 20,000 acres in a single day, swelling to 158,300 acres by 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and placing at least nine new areas under evacuation orders, the Fort Collins Coloradoan reported.
Here is the #CameronPeakFire map created with data from the multi mission aircraft (MMA) flight earlier today. Th… https://t.co/PQanYpzbyT— Canyon Lakes Ranger RD (@Canyon Lakes Ranger RD)1602731642.0
"This really was almost an epic day for doing evacuations and again, for everybody that's been moved, I know it's extremely difficult," officials said Wednesday night, as CBS4 Denver reported. "We do know that we lost structures today and for anybody who is impacted, you know, our heart goes out to you."
One family lost two cabins they owned in the Buckhorn Canyon area.
"The materials is one thing," Parker Hutchinson told CBS4 Denver. "But the amount of family heirlooms and just the memories of that area, they've been burned."
Despite these individual tragedies, Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said the day could have been even worse.
"We have no reported injuries, no deaths, a lot fewer structures were impacted that we truly anticipated based on what we saw with that said, there's certainly a lot of folks that got hit," he said, as Colorado Public Radio reported.
Time lapse sent by a colleague (with permission to share), taken near the mouth of the Big Thompson canyon… https://t.co/phRPfP4sAs— Russ Schumacher (@Russ Schumacher)1602699633.0
The Cameron Peak fire has been burning since Aug. 13 in the Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forest. It has persisted despite a snowstorm in early September and more snow on Sunday, fueled by high winds and drought. It had already destroyed or damaged 99 structures before exploding Tuesday, and officials said conditions were still too dangerous to assess the total number of buildings impacted in the last 24 hours. It is now 56 percent contained and more than 1,000 people are fighting it.
The fire is burning to the west of Fort Collins, but Smith said he did not think the flames would reach that more populous area or the nearby city of Loveland because they are protected by bodies of water and a lack of the heavy timber that feeds the flames.
The two largest fires in Colorado history both ignited this year. The Cameron Peak fire unseated the Pine Gulch fire, which burned 139,007 acres over the summer and held the record for only 48 days.
The ten largest fires in Colorado history all took place in the last 20 years, and seven took place in the last 10, according to figures reported by the Fort Collins Coloradoan.
As of August, 2020 was Colorado's third driest year on record and twelfth warmest, according to Colorado Public Radio. Almost a fourth of the state is experiencing extreme drought. These fire-fueling conditions are in line with what scientists say the climate crisis will do to the state.
"What we're seeing here is indicative of the fact that when the hot, dry years come around, they're hotter than most of the time when they've occurred in the past," state climatologist Russ Schumacher told Colorado Public Radio. "And that's pretty well in line with what climate projections have been saying for some time."
- Colorado Wildfire Forces 1,000 to Evacuate - EcoWatch ›
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- What Wildfire Smoke Plumes Reveal About Air Quality Over Time - EcoWatch ›
By Gwen Ranniger
Fertility issues are on the rise, and new literature points to ways that your environment may be part of the problem. We've rounded up some changes you can make in your life to promote a healthy reproductive system.
Infertility and Environmental Health: The Facts<ul> <li>Sperm count is declining steeply, significantly, and continuously in Western countries, with no signs of tapering off. Erectile dysfunction is on the rise, and women are facing increasing rates of miscarriage and difficulty conceiving.</li><li>Why? A huge factor is our environmental health. Hormones (particularly testosterone and estrogen) are what make reproductive function possible, and our hormones are increasingly being negatively affected by harmful, endocrine-disrupting chemicals commonplace in the modern world—in our homes, foods, and lifestyles.</li></ul>
What You Can Do About It<p>It should be noted that infertility can be caused by any number of factors, including medical conditions that cannot be solved with a simple change at home.</p><p><em>If you or a loved one are struggling with infertility, our hearts and sympathies are with you. Your pain is validated and we hope you receive answers to your struggles.</em></p><p>Read on to discover our tips to restore or improve reproductive health by removing harmful habits and chemicals from your environment.</p>
Edit Your Health<ul><li>If you smoke, quit! Smoking is toxic, period. If someone in your household smokes, urge them to quit or institute a no-smoking ban in the house. It is just as important to avoid secondhand smoke.</li><li>Maintain a healthy weight. Make sure your caloric intake is right for your body and strive for moderate exercise.</li><li>Eat cleanly! Focus on whole foods and less processed meals and snacks. Studies have found that eating a Mediterranean-style diet is linked to increased fertility.</li><li>Minimize negative/constant stress—or find ways to manage it. Hobbies such as meditation or yoga that encourage practiced breathing are great options to reduce the physical toll of stress.</li></ul>
Edit Your Home<p>We spend a lot of time in our homes—and care that what we bring into them will not harm us. You may not be aware that many commonly found household items are sources of harmful, endocrine-disrupting compounds. Read on to find steps you can take—and replacements you should make—in your home.</p><p><strong>In the Kitchen</strong></p><ul> <li>Buy organic, fresh, unprocessed foods whenever possible. <a href="https://www.ehn.org/clean-grocery-shopping-guide-2648563801.html" target="_blank">Read our grocery shopping guide for more tips about food.</a></li><li>Switch to glass, ceramics, or stainless steel for food storage: plastics often contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals that affect fertility. <a href="https://www.ehn.org/bpa-pollution-2645493129.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Learn more about the dangers of plastic here.</a></li><li>Ban plastic from the microwave. If you have a plastic splatter cover, use paper towel, parchment paper, or an upside-down plate instead.</li><li>Upgrade your cookware: non-stick may make life easier, but it is made with unsafe chemical compounds that seep into your food. Cast-iron and stainless steel are great alternatives.</li><li>Filter tap water. Glass filter pitchers are an inexpensive solution; if you want to invest you may opt for an under-the-sink filter.</li><li>Check your cleaning products—many mainstream products are full of unsafe chemicals. <a href="https://www.ehn.org/how-to-shop-for-cleaning-products-while-avoiding-toxics-2648130273.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Check out our guide to safe cleaning products for more info</a>.</li></ul><p><strong>In the Bathroom </strong></p><ul> <li>Check the labels on your bathroom products: <em>fragrance-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free</em> and organic labels are all great signs. You can also scan the ingredients lists for red-flag chemicals such as: triclosan, parabens, and dibutyl phthalate. Use the <a href="https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/" target="_blank">EWG Skin Deep database</a> to vet your personal products.</li><li>Ditch the vinyl shower curtain—that new shower curtain smell is chemical-off gassing. Choose a cotton or linen based curtain instead.</li><li>Banish air fresheners—use natural fresheners (an open window, baking soda, essential oils) instead.</li></ul><p><strong>Everywhere Else</strong></p><ul><li>Remove wall-to-wall carpet. If you've been considering wood or tile, here's your sign: many synthetic carpets can emit harmful chemicals for years. If you want a rug, choose wool or plant materials such as jute or sisal.</li><li>Prevent dust build-up. Dust can absorb chemicals in the air and keep them lingering in your home. Vacuum rugs and wipe furniture, trim, windowsills, fans, TVs, etc. Make sure to have a window open while you're cleaning!</li><li>Leave shoes at the door! When you wear your shoes throughout the house, you're tracking in all kinds of chemicals. If you like wearing shoes inside, consider a dedicated pair of "indoor shoes" or slippers.</li><li>Clean out your closet—use cedar chips or lavender sachets instead of mothballs, and use "green" dry-cleaning services over traditional methods. If that isn't possible, let the clothes air out outside or in your garage for a day before putting them back in your closet.</li><li>Say no to plastic bags!</li><li>We asked 22 endocrinologists what products they use - and steer clear of—in their homes. <a href="https://www.ehn.org/nontoxic-products-2648564261.html" target="_blank">Check out their responses here</a>.</li></ul>
Learn More<ul><li>For more information and action steps, be sure to check out <em>Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race</em> by EHS adjunct scientist Shanna Swan, PhD: <a href="https://www.shannaswan.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">available for purchase here.</a></li><li><a href="https://www.ehn.org/st/Subscribe_to_Above_The_Fold" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Sign up for our Above the Fold Newsletter </a>to stay up to date about impacts on the environment and your health.</li></ul>
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