GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES
DENVER (CBS4)- The massive wildfires in drought-parched states have tested the resources of state and federal crews. Weather experts believe conditions in the West will only continue to get worse.
There are 20 active fires in the Western U.S. right now. Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and Wyoming are fighting the bulk of those wildfires. And there’s little relief in sight.
“It looks like unfortunately the hot and dry conditions are going to continue for the next couple of days,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist in Charge Nezette Rydell.
Colorado may be at the mercy of the elements all summer. It’s been said that Mother Nature is running the High Park Fire burning west of Fort Collins.
The fire broke out Saturday in the Paradise Park area of Larimer County, about 15 miles west of Fort Collins. It is burning on 70 percent private land and 30 percent public land. Very hot and windy conditions have been spreading the blaze quickly in forested areas that include lots of trees killed by pine beetles.
The fire has burned 46,600 acres and was 10 percent contained on Wednesday. The fire was started by lightning.
It has been an extremely dry and record warm year for the entire U.S.
“These two things coming together for Colorado and for the West don’t portend well for the summer,” said Rydell. “We could be in much better shape.”
With acres of beetle kill and other parched fuels, meteorologists at the National Weather Service call the conditions dangers.
“As to where the next fire can occur it’s really a toss up. Any spot in the state is certainly vulnerable at this time of year to dry lightning, to lightning sparked fires and always to manmade fires,” said Rydell.
Forecasters said there is no significant rain on the horizon. There is hope for monsoonal rains developing in July and August.
In the meantime, all of Colorado is urged to be alert and prepared, ready to evacuate if fire ignites.