Historic Heat and Fires Mark June 2012

Persistent weather pattern continues

The National Weather Service confirmed today what many already suspected: June 2012 was the hottest on record for Denver. The average temperature for the month was 75 degrees, which is an impressive 7.6 degrees above normal.
By the numbers...
17 The number of days Denver exceeded 90 degrees in June, tied for second most all time.
6 The number of days Denver reached the century mark, a new record for June
5 The number of consecutive days we saw 100+ degree weather.
2 The number of days Denver set the new record high for the month of June, 105 degrees
9 The number of new daily record highs that were set in June.
The heat is set to continue this week, with temperatures in the mid to upper 90s through Thursday. The high temperature on July 4th is forecast to be 98 degrees with a slight chance of afternoon storms.

The heat was not the only history being made last month, as deadly and destructive wildfires have ruled the headlines for weeks. An exceptionally low snowpack, coupled with a lack of rain, heat, low humidities, and wind have made the rugged terrain to our west prime for fires. In June, we saw two of the state's most destructive fires on record, destroying over 600 homes between the two of them.

The High Park Fire started on June 9th just west of Fort Collins. The fire grow rapidly the first couple days, fueled by extremely dry tinder and high winds. The fire, which is now 100% contained, has burned 87,284 acres, and is the second largest on record. It has also destroyed 259 homes, which, at the time, was the most destructive fire in state history. Over 600 personnel remain on the scene today, with the total cost of the fire estimated at over 38 million dollars. The cause of the fire was lightning.

A map of the High Park Fire can be found here.

The Waldo Canyon Fire northwest of Colorado Springs started on June 23, and within three days pushed the High Park Fire into second place for most destructive fire in Colorado history. On Tuesday the 26th, erratic winds blew the fire toward the suburbs of Colorado Springs, forcing over 30,000 people to evacuate their homes. With gusts over 65mph, the fire tore into neighborhoods at the edge of town just moments after people had fled. The fire claimed two lives and destroyed 347 homes that day. Firefighters have gained on the blaze in the last days with now 45% containment being reported, with just over 18,000 acres burned.