“Holy Shit!” A Colorado Springs Family Returns to Burned-Out Home

Amid the ruins, fears that climate change is turning the West into a tinderbox.

When Hani Ahmad left his home in Colorado Springs as the Waldo Canyon fire raced down the mountainside, he expected to return. When he did, the house where his family has lived for two decades was a smoldering hole in the ground. The only recognizable remnant was a melted hunk of stove. As the family rounded the corner for the first time, Hani’s daughter captured the horror on her phone. The family agreed to share the footage with Climate Desk, offering an exclusive look into the heart of the destruction.

Hani is searching for answers in the ashes. Built-up fuel, high winds, and the proximity of houses to the forest all play a role, he says. But eating away at him is the worry that climate change made it worse—and that the danger is only growing.