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'One hour fuels' drive fire concerns this week in Colorado

One Hour Fuels
Posted at 6:38 PM, Apr 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-05 20:59:54-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Even after rain and snow this past weekend, high fire danger is once again the big weather story this week for Southern Colorado.

Tuesday's High Wind Warnings and big gusts are drying out fuels that saw much-needed moisture less than 48 hours ago, prompting Red Flag Warnings.

Fuels such as grasses, leaves, and mulch can dry out super quickly given the right meteorological conditions.

Examples include such things as high wind, low relative humidity, and warmer temperatures.

Regardless of any recent moisture, tinder-dry grasses and other one-hour fuels can quickly become ready to burn, given the right environment.

"When we get hot, dry, windy conditions like we have right now with low humidity, they dry out super quick. We're worried about those (fuels) because if a fire gets started in those (conditions) when it's windy like this, it's off to the races," said Colorado Springs Fire Department Lieutenant Jesse Weddle.

Dangerous grass fires can burn from urban areas to the foothills to the Plains...any time of the year.

A recent reminder of this is the Bear Creek Fire that burned in November of 2020. It scorched 26 acres and forced the evacuation of 235 homes.

Colorado Springs Fire says that lessons can be learned from the Bear Creek Fire and other recent fires up near Boulder that have devastated our state.

"When we have a Red Flag day and higher fire danger, we'll send more units on the initial dispatch so that we can make sure we have the resources available to put the fire out," said Weddle.

While the Colorado Springs Fire Department continues to do their part in helping to keep us safe, they praise local citizens for their efforts as well.

Keeping adequate defensible space around our homes, and calling in smoke or fire to 911 more quickly, even if you think that someone else may have already called it in, benefits us all they say.

One final message from Colorado Springs Fire...on Red Flag Warning Days, do not burn anything outdoors.