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Wildfire Season Outlook Mixed Across Colorado

March 16-22 is Flood & Wildfire Preparedness Week
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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Chris Spears By Chris Spears
CBS4 Meteorologist
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DENVER (CBS4) – The arrival of spring means many things across Colorado. Grasses will soon turn green, trees will get their leaves and flowers will start to bud.

In the days and weeks ahead, temperatures will start to warm and we will see the threat for afternoon thunderstorms instead of winter storms. But there are also hazards as we move into spring and summer, including the arrival of wildfire season.

RECENT YEARS

The 2000’s have been rough years for Colorado with several record setting and highly destructive wildfires. Some of the more memorable ones include the Hayman, 4 Mile, High Park, Missionary Ridge, Waldo Canyon, Royal Gorge and Black Forest.

A number of factors have contributed to such an active fire cycle, including drought, pine beetle damage and changes in population.

2014 OUTLOOK

It’s hard to say what lies ahead for this year’s fire season because there are so many pieces to the puzzle. One thing that looks certain is southern and western parts of the state will probably see the highest fire danger.

Much of southeast Colorado remains in severe drought, with some pockets of exceptional to extreme. Southwest, south-central and western Colorado are abnormally dry.

The central and northern mountains, the Interstate 25 urban corridor, and parts of northeast Colorado appear to be in decent shape after a fairly wet winter, but that doesn’t mean the area is out of the woods.

A hot, dry weather pattern could cause things to change quickly this summer.

TIME TO MITIGATE

Now is the time to prepare your home for the upcoming wildfire season.

If you live near a forest, grass land or wheat field, there are some actions you can take to help lower your vulnerability to wildfires.

RELATED: Wildfire Resources

The first line of defense is to build a defensible space around your home. This not only helps protect your house should a fire start, but it also gives firefighters a place to stage and help protect the structure.

When fires start, they often spread quickly, leaving you little time to react. If you live in a fire prone area, be sure to have all your important documents and belongings where you can quickly access them and evacuate.

It’s also a good idea to create an inventory of what you own and document it through pictures or videos for insurances purposes.

COLORADO FLOOD & WILDFIRE AWARENESS WEEK

This week has been dedicated to help educate and prepare Colorado citizens for the upcoming flood and wildfire season.

If you missed any of our previous stories about flooding, they are linked below.

The 2013 flood victims are at a higher risk for flooding from snowmelt in the mountains this year. Find out why by clicking here.

Colorado is no stranger to big floods. Click here to learn about some of the most memorable events.

Flood awareness takes center stage across our state this week. Click here to read more.

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