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A Wet Month Of May Buys Time Against Large Wildfires In Early June

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Inside the 2013 Lower North Fork Fire burn area there thousands upon thousands of scorched trees, but right now there’s also snow-covered ground, which is prolonging the wildfire season.

CBS4 Meteorologist Justin McHeffey in the snow-covered Lower North Fork Fire burn area on Tuesday (credit: CBS)

CBS4 Meteorologist Justin McHeffey in the snow-covered Lower North Fork Fire burn area on Tuesday (credit: CBS)

All of the wet vegetation on the ground is creating an unfavorable environment for wildfires, and that is really good news.

Since Jan. 1 only 2,000 acres of Colorado forests have burned. That’s down from 6,000, the average this time of year.

A firefighter battleing the Black Forest Fire in June, 2013 (credit: Colorado Springs Fire Department)

A firefighter battleing the Black Forest Fire in June, 2013 (credit: Colorado Springs Fire Department)

Last June the Black Forest Fire consumed 14,000 acres of land. It was the costliest wildfire in Colorado history. Fire weather meteorologist Tim Matthewson at the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center says Colorado’s largest wildfires have happened in early June.

“As long as we continue to receive our May moisture, usually we don’t see these really big fires in early June,” Matthewson said. “So a wet May usually buys us enough time to escape the really big fires in early June.”

Matthewson also said that even during historically wet winter and spring seasons Colorado can still produce very large wildfires.

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

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