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Firefighters working the Pine Gulch Fire. Photo courtesy of inciweb.

Colorado has a wildfire problem and it doesn't seem to be slowing down.

Believe it or not, all 20 of the largest wildfires ever recorded in Colorado have taken place in the last 20 years. This list includes 14 wildfires that have happened since 2010 (70% of top 20), 10 wildfires that have happened since 2015 (50% of top 20), and eight that have happened since 2018 (40% of top 20). It's also worth mentioning that 2020 brought the largest wildfire in Colorado history, a title that hasn't changed hands since 2002.

Here's a look at the list of Colorado's largest wildfires:

1. Pine Gulch Fire (2020) – 139,007 acres

2. Hayman Fire (2002) – 137,760 acres

3. West Fork Complex fire (2013) – 110,405 acres

4. Spring Creek Fire (2018) – 108,045 acres

5. Cameron Peak Fire (2020) – 102,598 acres

6. High Park Fire (2012) – 87,284 acres

7. Missionary Ridge Fire (2002) – 71,739 acres

8. 416 & Burro Fire Complex (2018) – 54,129 acres

9. Bridger Fire (2008) – 46,612 acres

10. Last Chance (2012)44,000 acres

11. Bear Springs Complex Fire (2011) – 46,257 acres

12. MM 117 Fire (2018) – 42,795 acres

13. Beaver Creek Fire (2016) – 38,380 acres

14. Bull Draw Fire (2018) – 36,520 acres

15. Badger Hole Fire (2018) – 33,609 acres

16. Trinidad Complex Fire (2002)33,000 acres

17. Logan Fire (2017) – 32,564 acres

18. Grizzly Creek Fire (2020) – 32,464 acres

19. Mt. Zirkel Complex Fire (2002) – 31,016 acres

20. Burn Canyon Fire (2002) – 30,573 acres

The most significant pre-2000s fire took place in 1879. It's been dubbed the Lime Creek Fire and burnt an estimated 26,000 acres, according to the Denver Post.

Editor's Note: Some of these fires have disputed acreage. Some of the fires listed as "2020" remain active and may increase in size.

Director of Content and Operations

Spencer McKee manages the OutThere Colorado digital publication as the Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to rock climb, trail run, and mountain bike. Follow along with his adventures on Instagram at @spence.outside


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(1) comment


Wondering if there's not an arsonist that's going around and beginning at least some of these fires? Maybe it's time to have game cameras for the roads into the wilderness -- where many of these fires are beginning.

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