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Colorado Wildfire Forecasters Believe This Year Is More Promising

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The Indian Gulch Fire in 2011 (credit: CBS)

The Indian Gulch Fire in 2011 (credit: CBS)

GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES

DENVER (CBS4) – Water levels are healthy now healthy in Colorado after all of the snow the state has had this year. In fact, much of Colorado has had as much snow over the last three months as the state normally gets in an average year. While that’s been great news for much of the state, it’s not the case everywhere.

Nobody wants a repeat of the devastating 2012 fire season.

“Last year we had all ingredients working towards a very significant fire season, and it started early,” Tim Mathewson with the Rocky Mountain Coordination Center said.

Mathewson says this year looks much more promising.

“It’s total opposite. In fact, 180 degrees different,” Mathewson said.

As fire rages in Southern California, most of Colorado has experienced a cool and very wet spring. The snowpack sits at about average for the northern two-thirds of the state. It’s the lower third of Colorado that’s the concern.

“It’s right now really our focus area for an early onset of fire season, and possibly an above average fire season,” Mathewson said.

The Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center tracks the typical path of wildfires. They usually begin over the desert southwest and head north.

“As time goes on, by the end of May, we usually see some fire activity start to show up into Southern Colorado.”

They’re starting to put resources into place to fight future fires.

“We’ll have resources coming in here in the next week or so across Colorado.”

Mathewson cautions not to get complacent because of the spring moisture.

“We will have fires, we will have large fires. But in terms of severity compared to last year, we’re nowhere near that.”

Last year in March and April Colorado had 37 days in which the temperature was at 70 degrees or above. This year there have only five days.

LINK: Rocky Mountain Coordination Center

Wildfire Resources

- Visit CBSDenver.com’s Wildfire Resources section.

- Read recent Wildfire stories.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

- See images from the most destructive wildfires (Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.

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