Amid historic wildfires, Twitter becomes go-to news source

The author’s Colorado home might be in the path of the blaze, and he’s staying close to his Twitter feed for his updates, not the local news.

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As the Boulder, Colo., neighborhood next to mine was issued a pre-evacuation order on Tuesday night when a one-acre fire quickly spread to 300-acres in the foothills above our home, I turned to Twitter for the latest updates. The hashtag #FlagstaffFire gave me direct access to people who are witnessing the historic blaze’s movement, making decisions, and providing up-to-date photos.

It’s the same for the devastating fire in Colorado Springs (#waldocanyonfire). Both tags were trending, and Twitter’s top images and videos were all from the Colorado wildfires.

Twitter offers a live news feed. While the traditional media—television and newspapers—offer updates following news conferences, Twitter updates come in constantly, and from official sources, too.

We turned off the television early on since broadcast coverage is overly dramatic and reporters sitting in a studio miles away from the fires are prone to speculation. Newspapers are trying to cover the news, but the physical edition is 12 hours behind the fast-moving news, and websites are not updated frequently enough.

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