The past few months, I’ve watched news coverage from afar as my beautiful home state of Colorado has been engulfed in deadly flames.
Though West Coast wildfires have received more national attention, the two largest wildfires in Colorado state history have ravaged the state, burning hundreds of thousands of acres and destroying hundreds of homes.
In northern Colorado, the Cameron Peak Fire — the largest in state history — has burned more than 208,000 acres as of Oct. 27. It’s been burning since Aug. 13. The East Troublesome fire, reported Oct. 14 in the north-central part of the state, has burned nearly 200,000 acres as of Oct. 27. Other small fires also work their way through the forests.
My sister, who lives relatively close to the Cameron Peak Fire, has told our family she’s found ash from the fires on the hood of her car. Granby, Colorado — a small town home to a summer camp for children and adults with special needs I volunteered at for years — was threatened and residents had to evacuate due to the East Troublesome Fire.
Most of my family lives in Denver, further from where the fires are happening. We are fortunate to not be one of the many families who’s had to evacuate, but we spend a lot of time in the mountains and it hurts to see Colorful Colorado burn.
The state was dusted with snow over the weekend, but officials have said it’s not enough to put the fires out and the weather is set to warm up later this week.
Sadly, although this is scary, I’m used to it — I’ve grown up with wildfires. It’s pretty routine for Colorado to be hit by them in the summertime. I remember a fire so bad when I was growing up that I could smell the smoke in downtown Denver — a hundred or so miles away — at a Rockies game. I also remember one summer at camp rolling up the windows of our bus to protect campers from intense smoke as we passed a wildfire nearby.
But it’s not normal that I’m used to seeing my state burning.
The Colorado and West Coast fires are an important reminder that climate change is real and forests across the United States are mismanaged.
Fires like the ones in Colorado are “burning hotter and longer,” even as winter nears, which should show Americans that it’s time to do something about climate change — in fact, acting on this crisis is long overdue.
The Trump administration has a deregulatory track record on climate change, which was seen when it withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement, which brings together nearly 200 countries in an effort to scale back global warming.
If you haven’t yet voted this election season, vote accordingly if you want a nice place to live in the future — I know I do. Do it for Colorado, my beautiful home, and the rest of our beautiful Earth.
We need someone who will do more for future generations. I don’t want my kids to live in a wasteland.
In News this week, find a story on the Black Cultural Center and its continued discussion with Loyola administrators about racial justice at Loyola. As the election nears, find a guide to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s progressive tax proposal on the ballot.
In Opinion, find a staff editorial pushing for professors to take it easy on students this semester.
In A&E, you’ll find podcast suggestions if you’re bored at home and a story on a protest song compilation put out ahead of the election.
In Sports, find a piece on how Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Basketball coaches are hoping for a multi-bid league and a column by a Phoenix sports editor on being a woman in sports.