On July 31, 2020, a lightning strike ignited the Pine Gulch Fire near Grand Junction. Drought, hot weather and inaccessible terrain combined to make it spread, and quickly grow, beyond containment.
By Aug. 27, it had become the largest wildfire in Colorado history, surpassing the Hayman Fire of 2002.
In a brutal twist of fate, that record lasted less than two months. On Oct. 14, the Cameron Peak Fire was classified as the largest wildfire Colorado had ever seen. That same day, the East Troublesome Fire was first reported, and it too would eventually surpass Pine Gulch.
It took only 62 days to break a record that had stood for 18 years, not once, or twice, but three times. In fact, that record was more than just broken. By all known metrics, it was shattered.