Forecasts suggest active fire season |

Forecasts suggest active fire season

Early fire forecasts indicate the states north of Colorado have the potential for an active fire season.

Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and the Pacific Northwest are in drought, said Lynn Barclay, fire information officer for the Bureau of Land Management’s Little Snake Field Office.

But Colorado has been receiving moisture, and the next few weeks look as if they will be wet, too, she said.

“The next couple weeks look to be in a storm pattern. We’re going to be in a higher moisture, rainy pattern,” Barclay said.

The wet weather is making it difficult for the BLM to schedule controlled burns in Northwest Colorado.

Fire loads need to be dry enough to burn, but not so dry that they fire can get out of control. Likewise, some wind is useful to push the fire, but too much wind can get a fire out of control.

Ranchers at low elevations in Rio Blanco County have already begun burning agriculture land to destroy vegetation refuse and promote the regrowth of grass. As Moffat and later Routt County begin to dry out, Barclay expects ranchers to begin burning there, too.

“Prime conditions for burning also lend themselves to the hazards of using fire,” Barclay said.

The Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit makes the following recommendations to ranchers who plan to conduct burns on their land:

  • Contact your Sheriff’s Office before burning.
  • Be aware of expected weather conditions for your dry burn — this time of year winds can be erratic.
  • Avoid windy and excessively warm, dry days–fires spread quickly under these conditions.
  • Advise your neighbors of your plans to burn so they don’t panic or call in a false fire report.
  • Keep a shovel and plenty of water handy to extinguish the fire.
  • Never leave a fire unattended, even for a few minutes.
  • Dig a fire line or break if there is a chance the fire may not stop where you want it to.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or

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