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The fire flip: Summer's low fire danger created future fire risk

Posted at 9:50 PM, Sep 06, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS — There is a mixed message about wildfire danger this year.

It may seem contradictory but the lower fire danger because of record rain has been raising the fire risk heading into fall and winter.

“In reality, we should flip that mentality because we have increased growth and increased fuels, and therefore we have an increased risk, because we will eventually dry out,” said Cory Ashby with the Wildfire Mitigation Section of Colorado Springs Fire Department.

The mitigation team with the Colorado Springs Fire Department goes from neighborhood to neighborhood helping property owners mitigate fire risk.

“So, if there is a fire it's not as catastrophic to the community, said CSFD Wildfire Mitigation Program Administrator, Jessica McIntire.

There was so much vegetation growth this year, that mitigation work to trees and brush from previous years may need to be revisited.

More immediate are concerns about tall thick grasses and weeds.

“Light fuel would be the grasses, the leaf litter, pine needles that are collecting on your property. The recommendation from the fire department is that you do not let these light fuels accumulate more than four inches,” said McIntire.

The advice is to mitigate while fire risk is lower.

“That growth is creating more fuel,” said Ashby, “We need to be evaluating that as a community more readily.”

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