Other significant fires in the state include a 300-acre blaze 1.5 miles (2.4 km) outside of Boulder, a 9,168-acre blaze near Mancos in the southwestern part of the state and a 23,400-acre wildfire in rugged terrain in the San Juan National Forest, also in the southwestern part of the state.
The immediate driver of these fires is a lack of moisture and a ridge of heat that has settled over the central United States, said New Jersey state climatologist Dave Robinson, who also directs the Global Snow Lab at Rutgers University. After record snowpack last year, the Rocky Mountains did a 180 this year, Robinson said, seeing little moisture and early snowmelt.
"March and April are supposed to be your snowy months [in Colorado], and they weren't," Robinson told LiveScience. "Thus, the fire danger."
Meanwhile, a high-pressure system in the central part of the country is preventing cloud formation and allowing the sun to bake the ground, heating things up. On Tuesday (June 26) alone, 251 daily heat records were broken across the nation, according to the National Climatic Data Center. In the past week, more than 1,000 new daily heat records were put on the books. [The World's Weirdest Weather]