Dec 2, 2012 7:45 PM by Tony Spehar -

Unseasonably warm weather brings high fire danger

The unseasonably warm weather over the past few weeks has been great for those who enjoy the outdoors, but it's also raising the level of danger for wildfires.

Bill and Beth Erickson were among many hikers who packed the trails at the Red Rock Canyon Open Space on Sunday enjoying the warm temperatures.

"It's hard to believe," described Bill Erickson. "Much more dry than usual."

The dry conditions have fire fighters and those living in heavily forested areas on edge. Over the past few weeks the Manitou Springs Fire Department has seen a big increase in the number of reports of smoke.

"We a whole lot would rather have people call us and with a smoke report and it turn out to be false than not call us and have a fire get a head-start on us," explained Lt. Brad Dorris. "It's extremely dry; we're every bit as dry now as we were when the Waldo Canyon fire started."

The Fern Canyon fire spread to over 3,500-acres in Rocky Mountain National Park on Saturday, fire fighters believe it was started by an illegal campfire. High winds expected Sunday night could cause the fire to spread and force the evacuation of over a thousand people.

Locally, there have been close calls with a few campfires that got out of control and a car that ran-off the road sparked a fire near Broadmoor on Friday night.

"It's not just campfires," explained Lt. Dorris. "Even something as simple as they're mowing their grass and have a blade hit a rock and cause a spark; they need to be extremely vigilant."

Fire fighters urge everyone to remain vigilant, report and signs of smoke or fire and use common sense while outdoors to avoid wildfires during these dangerous conditions.



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