FMU: Conditions ripe for ‘large fire growth’
August 13, 2009
In Moffat and Rio Blanco counties, fire danger is holding at high to very high, the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit reported Wednesday afternoon.
An abundant amount of grasses are cured and vegetation is going into the dormant stage in some areas, leaving dead foliage with no moisture, firefighters said.
“Even though we experienced a decent amount of rain over Northwest Colorado earlier this summer, the current state of the vegetation combined with windy, dry days has put us back in the ‘high to very high’ fire danger category,” said Mark Rogers, Northwest Colorado Fire Management Officer, in a news release. “The potential for large fire growth is here.”
Craig Fire/Rescue, Maybell Volunteer Fire Department, Artesia Volunteer Fire Department and the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office have been responding to wildland fires on private land.
Some of the fires have been the result of sparks from mechanical equipment or an ATV.
“Conditions are such that even with water and shovels, all it takes is a shift in the wind to send a fire racing beyond a person’s capability to stop,” Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz said.
“We’re asking people to hold off any unnecessary outdoor burning,” he added.
Fire officials asked residents to remember fire safety tips:
• Call the Sheriff’s Office and give details about the time, date and location of any debris or agricultural burning you’re conducting.
• Don’t park your vehicle in tall grass or weeds. The hot catalytic converter on your car can start a fire quickly.
• Leave fireworks at home.
• Always have a shovel and water close by to douse fires.
• Don’t leave a campfire unattended – it is a fineable offense, and hot embers can lead to wildland fires.
• Smoke only in cleared areas and dispose of cigarettes properly.