Wildfires near Ordway, Colorado have killed three people, led to the evacuation of more than 1,000 residents and burned 11 square miles, according to the Associated Press.
Firefighters reportedly had half the fire contained as of late Tuesday, and hoped storms would help quell remaining flames.
The fires are among 13,554 recorded already in 2008. That's a slightly lower total than the five-year average to date, but the acres burned 1.1 million is 45.7% above the five-year average, and 97.7% above the average since 2000. The totals do not include the 7,100-acre Colorado fires.
Despite a wet winter that typically tamps down on fire risk, a particularly dry March has made conditions ripe for fires in much of the West.Scientists warn that fire risk will increase with global warming, as mountain snowpack diminishes, summer heat increases and vegetation become more susceptible to drying out.
More fire activity is likely today, as the National Weather Service has announced red flag warnings due to fire risk across parts of the Southeast, Southwest and Rocky Mountain states.
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