Rocky Mountain Area Fire Season Outlook - Colorado

Bottom-line for Colorado? The Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center indicates that while some areas of NW Colorado may -- and emphasis on 'may' - develop above average fire potential due to below average snowpack, severe drought conditions, forecasted above and average temperatures and below average precipitation July through August, the remainder of Colorado is predicted to have an "average" fire potential. According to the report, "average fire potential means that these areas will likely experience short durations of fuel and fire weather conditions that support periods of large fire activity, but not extended periods of fuel and fire weather conditions that result in multiple large fires for several weeks."
The 2010 Rocky Mountain Area Fire Season Outlook, produced by the Predictive Services Group of the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center, covers Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. It is intended to address the risk for significant fire events that could require mobilization of additional resources outside the area of origination, such as through expanded mutual aid agreements within a state or through additional, out-of-state requests for assistance.
In going through the report, some of the particular points relative to Colorado are:
  • "Drought conditions have significantly improved across the plains of eastern Colorado"
  • "Snowpack across the Rocky Mountain Area ranges from near average to below average across southern Colorado"
  • "Climate forecasts from the Climate Prediction Center and others support above average temperatures west of the divide this summer, especially July through August. Wetter than average conditions are forecast east of the divide, with no tilt either way west. However, other forecasts support drier than average summer conditions from northwest Colorado through western Wyoming."
  • "Carry over grasses fromprevious growing seasons are abundant across the Rocky Mountain area. Many forests across the Rocky Mountain area have been devastated by the mountain pine beetle. Dry and hot periods make these areas more susceptible to large fire potential."
Of course, the three main causes of fires continue to be men, women and children... so, what can you do to help mitigate the chances of a wildland fire?
  • Be careful with campfires - only build fires in rings or grates
  • Use self-contained cookers or chemical stoves
  • Keep hot mufflers and catalytic converters clear of grasses and shrubs
  • Burn debris with care - and check with the Colorado Fire Ban site to know what local restrictions are
  • Think about where you would go to flee a fire, what you would take and alternate routes for exit
To get more information on how to prepare you and your family for a wildland fire or any other disaster, check out READYColorado and for more information on how to prepare your property for fire season, check, be FIREWISE!!