Colorado Wildfire Investigation Falls Behind All Other Western States

"Investigators determined what created the initial spark in fewer than half of the large, human-caused fires in Colorado between 2000 and 2018 — the worst rate of any western state... At every level, Colorado investigators said they are doing their best, but resources have been stretched thin by a growing number of wildfires thanks to human-caused climate change and more people living and recreating in the wildland." -Sam Brasch (CPR News)

Brasch, S. (2021, November 30). Colorados Biggest Wildfires Are Mostly Human Caused And Unsolved. Colorado Public Radio News. Retrieved From

Colorado and other states in the American West have experienced a vastly growing number of wildfires in recent years. Not only has the number of fires increased substantially, but the fires that are occurring are larger and far more destructive than those of the past. Over the past five years, Colorado has averaged more than 4,000 wildfires per year and it is estimated that nine out of ten are human-caused. This is not only due to the effects of climate change, but a higher number of people living and recreating in the forest on a yearly basis. Most other states in the American West have since invested in better wildfire investigation measures and hired more highly trained fire investigators, but not in Colorado. Over the last twenty years, the state of Colorado has determined the cause of fewer than 43 percent of human-caused wildfires in the state. Other western states are closer to the 75 percent mark discovering the cause of almost three quarters of the human-caused wildfires that occur there. It is estimated that every dollar spent on prevention would save 35 dollars in suppression costs down the road. So why has Colorado dropped the ball when it comes to investigating and preventing fires from happening to begin with? Give this article a read to find out more.