Wildfire risk should decrease come July, experts say

Posted at 10:41 PM, May 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-03 00:41:50-04

A new report from the National Interagency Fire Center shows southern Colorado will experience above normal wildfire potential through May and June, but experts predict we could see relief this summer.

The NIFC releases its outlook report at the start of every month, which predicts eight more weeks of above average fire danger.

Southern Colorado enjoyed a wet 2017 up until winter, which helped grow fuels like brush, grass and trees. 2018, on the other hand, has been dry — so the large amounts of fuel are now ready to burn, evident by the Carson Midway and 117 fires.

Experts expect that to remain the same through May and June, but near the start of July, the NIFC is currently predicting our fire danger will return to normal levels. That’s thanks to weather patterns occurring hundreds of miles away, according to Makoto Moore, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

"Typically, the monsoon starts up right around July 1, give or take a few days," Moore said. "When that happens, increased moisture across the four corners into the area really helps to moderate the fire season."

News 5 also asked a number of local fire departments about the role these predictive services have in fighting wildfires, and the answers varied.

For crews on the ground, the predictions don’t really mean much, because they are constantly assessing the weather from the fire line. But for more administrative personnel, the outlook is critical for planning ahead, whether that means pre-positioning crews or redirecting money.