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Disasters

1921 Pueblo Flood

Added by yongli on 06/08/2020 - 16:50, last changed on 06/08/2020 - 16:50
The worst flood in the history of Pueblo , and one of the worst in Colorado history, struck on June 3–5, 1921. Between 150 and 250 people died in the deluge along the Arkansas River. The flood caused more than $25 million in damage, leading the entire town to be reshaped in its aftermath. In the...

AIDS in Colorado

Added by yongli on 03/30/2017 - 13:58, last changed on 03/01/2021 - 01:07
HIV/AIDS represents one of the greatest public health crises of the latter half of the twentieth century and the first half of the twenty-first century. The disease affects thousands of families in Colorado alone and has motivated a public response unlike any other in the last fifty years. Today,...

Belmont Hotel Fire of 1908

Added by yongli on 07/08/2020 - 16:00, last changed on 07/08/2020 - 16:00
On September 8, 1908, a fire broke out on the second floor of Denver ’s Belmont Hotel, claiming as many as fifteen lives and injuring several others in one of the city’s deadliest fires. After the fire, authorities suspected that theft may have been a motive for arson, as valuables had gone missing...

Boulder Flood of 1894

Added by yongli on 08/15/2016 - 14:28, last changed on 02/01/2021 - 14:53
The 1894 Boulder flood was a natural disaster that reshaped the landscape of Boulder County , wiping out some communities and forcing others to come together to rebuild. Like other extreme weather events, the 1894 deluge played an integral role in the development of the affected communities. Some,...

COVID-19 in Colorado

Added by yongli on 03/18/2020 - 12:50, last changed on 12/04/2021 - 09:27
Editor's note: This page will be updated frequently but may not contain the latest information. Please refer to the sources listed throughout and at the end of the article for the latest updates on the pandemic. As of December 4, 2021, Colorado has had more than 838,587 confirmed cases of COVID-19...

Cripple Creek Fires of 1896

Added by yongli on 02/16/2021 - 13:37, last changed on 02/16/2021 - 13:37
In April 1896, the mining town of Cripple Creek was devastated by two fires within four days. Frigid winter winds and scant water supply caused both fires to spread rapidly and created difficulty for volunteer firefighters who attempted to extinguish them. The fires leveled the central business...

East Troublesome Fire

Added by Nick Johnson on 10/22/2020 - 21:05, last changed on 03/29/2021 - 08:16
One of the most destructive wildfire s in Colorado history, the East Troublesome Fire began on October 14, 2020, in the central Rocky Mountains east of Troublesome Creek in Grand County . A week later, high winds whipped the fire into a 100,000-acre inferno racing northeast through Grand Lake and...

Ellison Onizuka

Added by yongli on 01/31/2017 - 10:17, last changed on 04/01/2020 - 01:07
Ellison Onizuka (1946–86) was an astronaut for the US Space Shuttle program who earned degrees at the University of Colorado in Boulder before perishing in the 1986 Challenger shuttle disaster. Onizuka was Colorado’s highest-profile astronaut and is remembered today as an advocate for science...

Flooding in Colorado

Added by yongli on 08/15/2016 - 16:19, last changed on 02/01/2021 - 14:58
Coloradans have maintained a complex relationship with the natural process of flooding. On one hand, inhabitants of the arid West—from early indigenous communities to current metropolitan populations—have been attracted to the many resources floodplains provide. On the other hand, periodic...

Gold King Mine Spill

Added by yongli on 06/18/2021 - 17:06, last changed on 06/18/2021 - 17:08
Around 10:30 am on August 5, 2015, an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) crew ruptured a plug of rock and soil at the Gold King Mine north of Silverton , releasing an estimated 3 million gallons of contaminated wastewater. This water ran into Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas River , and...

Great Fire of 1863

Added by yongli on 03/13/2020 - 14:35, last changed on 01/30/2021 - 09:42
In the early morning hours of April 19, 1863, a fire raged through Denver , reducing much of the town’s business district to ash. As in most frontier towns of the American West, fire had been a concern for Denver citizens since the town’s founding in 1858, because flammable structures and almost...

Gumry Hotel Explosion

Added by yongli on 08/31/2016 - 13:43, last changed on 04/08/2020 - 10:10
On August 19, 1895, a steam boiler exploded in Denver’s Gumry Hotel, killing twenty-two people and injuring dozens. Hotel fires were not uncommon in nineteenth-century Colorado, but the Gumry explosion was the worst hotel disaster in Colorado history and prompted a complete rewrite of boiler...

Hastings Mine Explosion

Added by yongli on 02/16/2021 - 13:21, last changed on 06/17/2021 - 07:26
The Hastings Mine Explosion was the deadliest mining disaster in Colorado history. Caused by the misguided striking of a match in the Hastings coal mine north of Trinidad on April 27, 1917, the blast killed 121 coal miners; one other worker died of overexertion while trying to recover the bodies...

High Park Fire

Added by yongli on 10/15/2020 - 15:55, last changed on 03/23/2021 - 01:07
Ignited by lightning in early June 2012, the High Park Fire became one of the largest and most destructive wildfires in Colorado history, burning 87,415 acres along the Cache la Poudre River in the mountains west of Fort Collins . By the time it was fully contained on June 30, the High Park Fire...

Jokerville Mine Explosion

Added by yongli on 01/21/2021 - 13:35, last changed on 06/17/2021 - 07:27
On January 24, 1884, the Jokerville Mine outside of Crested Butte was full of methane gas and exploded, killing fifty-nine workers. As the third-deadliest mine disaster in Colorado history, the Jokerville explosion demonstrated the dangers of coal mining, even as coal was an essential industry for...

Last Chance Fire

Added by yongli on 01/21/2021 - 13:52, last changed on 06/25/2021 - 08:01
The Last Chance Fire started on June 25, 2012, when sparks from a motorist’s flat tire set the prairie ablaze near the town of Last Chance in eastern Colorado. The fire was 100 percent contained in nearly twenty-four hours, but in that time the wildfire scorched 45,000 acres and destroyed several...

Panic of 1893

Added by yongli on 02/16/2021 - 14:16, last changed on 03/15/2021 - 01:07
The Panic of 1893 touched off a nationwide economic depression that lasted for at least three years, threw millions out of work, and caused banks and businesses to fail across the country. In Colorado and other silver-mining states, the panic was tied to the abrupt collapse of the silver industry...

River House Saloon Fire of 1862

Added by yongli on 06/10/2020 - 12:11, last changed on 06/10/2020 - 12:11
Seeing them as public nuisances that bred sin, enraged citizens burned down several saloons and dance halls in Denver during the 1860s. One of the first and most significant of these attacks was the burning of the River House Saloon on Ferry Street on November 1, 1862. The River House fire was...

September 2013 Floods

Added by yongli on 06/09/2020 - 14:45, last changed on 03/29/2021 - 08:16
In September 2013, Colorado’s Front Range , from Fort Collins south to Colorado Springs , experienced some of the most dramatic and devastating flood s in state history. In the hardest-hit areas, the rainfall beginning September 9 and ending September 16 matched or exceeded annual averages. Across...

South Platte Flood of 1965

Added by yongli on 03/13/2020 - 13:48, last changed on 09/04/2021 - 11:57
The South Platte River flood of 1965 was one of the worst natural disaster in Denver ’s history. It claimed twenty-one lives and resulted in property losses estimated at $543 million (more than $4.4 billion in 2019 dollars), with the worst damage occurring in the Denver metro area. While other...

Spring Creek Flood of 1997

Added by yongli on 10/22/2015 - 13:14, last changed on 07/30/2020 - 13:22
On July 28, 1997, the city of Fort Collins was inundated with the heaviest rains ever recorded in a Colorado urban area. During the peak of the storm, about six inches fell in an hour and a half. This caused Spring Creek, a tributary of the Cache la Poudre River , to rise thirty feet beyond its...

St. James Hotel Fire of 1895

Added by yongli on 07/08/2020 - 16:02, last changed on 07/08/2020 - 16:02
On March 23, 1895, a blaze at the St. James Hotel in Denver killed four firefighters, three of whom were black. Despite ongoing racial tensions that had intensified during the depths of an economic depression, the city mourned all four men together, without regard to race. The public response was a...

Telluride Flood of 1914

Added by yongli on 03/31/2017 - 14:59, last changed on 12/28/2017 - 13:43
On July 27, 1914, Telluride experienced several days of severe flooding following a cloudburst in the mountains above town. Remarkably, the destructive deluge killed only one person, and Telluride made a swift recovery, demonstrating the resilience of one of Colorado’s busiest mountain mining towns...

The Dust Bowl

Added by yongli on 05/09/2016 - 10:53, last changed on 10/29/2019 - 10:51
In the 1930s, eastern Colorado experienced the worst ecological disaster in the state’s history. Unsustainable farming practices and widespread drought transformed the once fertile Great Plains into a barren landscape, inhospitable to both humans and animals. The experience of the Dust Bowl...

The Great Die Up

Added by yongli on 02/16/2021 - 13:40, last changed on 03/19/2021 - 01:07
“The Great Die Up” is one of three nicknames for the winter of 1886–87, when hundreds of thousands of cattle across the Great Plains died in harsh weather. The event changed the cattle industry forever, ending the practice of open-range grazing. Ranchers also called this weather event “The Big Die-...

The Hilltop Bomber Crash

Added by yongli on 01/18/2017 - 13:56, last changed on 12/16/2020 - 09:04
In 1951, a B-29 Superfortress taking off from Lowry Air Force Base crashed in Denver ’s Hilltop neighborhood. As the smoke cleared, the deadly crash illustrated the need for better safety procedures at military bases near residential areas and the necessity of regulating the expansion of military...

Union Depot Fire of 1894

Added by yongli on 07/06/2020 - 16:04, last changed on 07/06/2020 - 16:04
In 1894 a fire at Denver ’s original Union Depot destroyed much of the building within an hour. The burning of the railroad station, which had been completed in 1881 and was regarded as one of the largest and grandest in the West, shocked Denver citizens. Reconstruction efforts began almost...

Vulcan Mine Explosions

Added by yongli on 02/08/2021 - 15:47, last changed on 06/17/2021 - 07:26
Between 1896 and 1918, the Vulcan Mine in Garfield County exploded three times, killing a total of eighty-five workers. The successive blasts prompted action from labor unions and politicians to make coal mines safer. At the site of the Vulcan Mine today, there remains an active underground coal...

Waldo Canyon Fire

Added by yongli on 10/15/2020 - 15:59, last changed on 03/24/2021 - 01:07
On June 22, 2012, the Waldo Canyon Fire ignited northwest of Colorado Springs , perilously close to neighborhoods and businesses in one of the most populated areas on Colorado’s Front Range . Although local and federal agencies immediately converged on the blaze, hot, dry, and windy conditions...

Wichita State University Plane Crash

Added by yongli on 10/03/2016 - 12:07, last changed on 01/30/2021 - 09:50
In early October 1970, a twin-engine aircraft carrying forty people associated with the Wichita State University football team crashed into Mt. Bethel along Colorado’s Continental Divide , killing thirty-one passengers. The crash spurred the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to review and revise its...

Wolves in Colorado

Added by yongli on 02/16/2021 - 13:25, last changed on 03/09/2021 - 01:07
The gray wolf ( Canis lupus ) was once one of the most prevalent predators in Colorado, stalking deer and bison across the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains . Before wolves were killed off in the state by the 1940s, they enjoyed a rather peaceful coexistence with humans. Since their eradication,...
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