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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published June 30 2012

Weather Talk: Conditions in Rockies fuel terrible Colorado wildfires

The terrible forest fires in Colorado have grabbed the world’s attention. In many ways, this year’s Colorado fires are beginning to

evoke memories of the terrible Yellowstone fires of 1988.

The situation is similar. The region has been in a drought for a few years already. The region is at the center of a large upper atmospheric high pressure system that inhibits rain development. And this particular part of the Rockies has escaped widespread forest fires for so long that the collection of underbrush makes a massive burning more likely.

Plus, there has been an infestation of pine bark beetles in recent years, which has killed many trees, increasing the amount of fuel to burn.

With the weather pattern expected to remain drier and hotter than average, the fires will likely continue to be a big danger to Coloradans, and a major news story for the world, until snowfall.

Have a weather question you’d like answered? Email weather@wday.com,

or write to WDAY Stormtracker, WDAY-TV, Box 2466, Fargo, ND 58108

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