A friend who lives off of Flagstaff Road can see the fire from his front porch. On Wednesday, he told me: "The future is now. Global warming is hitting home. The weather has been hotter, drier and more intense and volatile. This is definitely a wakeup call."
Another friend told me: "I think this is just the beginning. More fire, less water. Even if we stopped using fossil fuels, the warming will continue. I feel grateful for the planes and helicopters that are putting out the flames, but what will we do when the fossil fuels run out to power the planes? It will look like the Sahara Dessert in Colorado."
She thinks the root problem is that our political system is captive to the fossil fuel industry, which has made it impossible to take meaningful steps to stop climate change.
It finally hit home here in Boulder this week, when the city itself was threatened and people in south Boulder were given pre-evacuation orders. We've been watching the rest of the state burn for weeks; now it was here.
But Boulder had some luck that other parts of Colorado haven't had, and the fire hasn't spread rapidly like the fires in High Park (Fort Collins area) and Waldo Canyon (Colorado Springs).
Meanwhile, at the international Rio+20 summit that ended last Friday, no progress was made on climate change and other environmental disasters facing us.
Even the call to end subsidies for fossil fuels was removed from the final text. Unfortunately, the U.S. was a major impediment to progress.
"(The) final document ... contributes almost nothing to our struggle to survive as a species," said Nicaraguan representative Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann. "We now face a future of increasing natural disasters."
Gwynne Dwyer commented: "Governments seeking to avoid commitments are happier than activists who wanted some positive results from the conference, and the hundreds of large corporations that were represented at Rio are happiest of all."
Meanwhile, fires rage in Colorado and temperatures keep breaking records.
Carolyn Bninski is on the staff of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center.