DENVER (CBS4) – The Eightmile Fire near Canon City is a reminder of just how quickly things can change in Colorado. After weeks of heavy rain, hot dry weather is raising the chances of fire danger.
Right now what’s called cheat grass is one of the biggest contributing factors for wildfire. Lots of the grass is already brown and what’s green will soon dry up.
“It’s nerve-wrackin,” said Guy Haseney, an apartment manager.
Haseney was out Saturday on a summer picnic near Green Mountain. He says the hotter months ahead are a little daunting.
“A lit cigarette, that’s the thing that I’m kind of scared of being an apartment manager. Is somebody just flicking a lit cigarette in the wrong place and starting a fire?” he said.
“When the sun comes out, it dries things out,” said Jim Oberriter, Wildfire Task Force Leader.
Oberriter says as July approaches even green grass around the state will turn brown.
“Things can change quickly and we’re seeing with the sun come out, a lot of the fuels are drying out, and what we’d like to encourage people is to be careful with their campfires,” he said. “Really make sure that they’re out; stir them with water, feel them and make sure they’re out.”
Colorado has recently seen an increase in lightning, like the strike that caused the square-mile blaze in Fremont County.
The Eightmile Fire has spurred the need Colorado’s first aerial firefighting fleet — the bill appropriating its $21 million cost was signed into law just last month.
“Here we are in almost July, things are going to start to get hotter and drier,” Rocco Snart with Wildland Fire Management said.
Snart pointed out the invasive cheat grass, which may be the biggest fuel for wildfires.
“It is so light and fluffy and available,” he said.
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