Fire risk above average
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Wildfire danger is far lower this year than in 2002, but it still exists.
According to Rocky Mountain Area Predictive Services, the onset of the 2003 fire season has been delayed well past that of the 2002 season, when large fire activity was already under way by late March.
This is because of much better snowpack than in 2002, average to above average precipitation near and east of the Continental Divide, cooler temperatures, and significant green-up in some areas, the report said.
However, unless the rest of the summer is abnormally wet, long-term drought conditions still potentially put the entire Rocky Mountain area at risk for a slightly above-average fire season, the agency reported.
Glenwood Springs fire chief Mike Piper said that even though it’s been wetter than last year, people still need to be careful with fire.
“We’re as diligent about fires and as nervous about them still a year later as we were last year,” he said. “It’s still quite dry.”
He said the firefighters in his department are “staying on top of things” and he hopes citizens will do the same. He also said the department has two new water tender trucks “just in case.”
“I hope we get a little rain,” he said, “and I hope we never have to repeat what we did last year.”
Statewide, above-average fire activity is most likely along the northern Front Range and in western and southern portions of the state during June and early July, before the monsoon rains come, according to RMA Predictive Services.
The above-average fire potential will then move into southwest and northwest Wyoming later in the summer.
RMA Predictive Services provides fire weather and intelligence support to 10 cooperating agencies: the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and the states of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511
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