The Madeleine Brand Show for June 26, 2012

Wildfires burn through Colorado and the West

Colorado's High Park Fire Burns 37,000 Acres, Forces Evacuations

Marc Piscotty/Getty Images

Michelle Mellenthin and Chris Huizenga watch firefighting efforts from a Jeep on June 11, 2012 near Laporte, Colorado. The High Park Fire in Larimer County has burned almost 37,000 acres and damaged or destroyed more than 100 structures.

Record temperatures and dry conditions are creating a dangerous mix for wildfires in the Rocky Mountain region.

Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming are under red-flag warnings and the weather forecast isn't letting up.

The largest of the fires is burning in Colorado which saw a record 105-degree temperature yesterday. That has residents -- and tourism officials -- worried. Once the fires are contained, the damage to homes and the state's economy could be long lasting.


Megan Verlee has been covering the Colorado Springs fire for Colorado Public Radio. She describes smoke plumes rising above the highway, gawking drivers, and dark air in Denver that obscures skyscrapers — even though the nearest fire is 60 miles away.

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