By Chris Spears

DENVER (CBS4) – One year ago the headline was potential flooding along Colorado’s Front Range, now it’s potential wildfire.

The growing threat is due to an abrupt shift in weather patterns last year.

capture3 Stage Set For Big Wildfires This Spring In Foothills, On Plains

In spring 2016, the foothills and the eastern plains were cool and wet which allowed lush vegetation to grow.

But the storm track dried out over the summer and it’s been dry ever since for locations east of the Continental Divide.

brighton grass fire 2 bfd pio tweet Stage Set For Big Wildfires This Spring In Foothills, On Plains

A grass fire in Brighton. (credit: Brighton Fire)

History has shown us that the month of March can play a big role in fire behavior for later months along the Front Range.

In March 2003, a historic snowstorm ended a drought that fueled significant wildfires during the previous summer.

The opposite happened in 2012, when an unusually warm and dry March created a drought that brought one of the most devastating fire seasons in state history.

lower north fork fire Stage Set For Big Wildfires This Spring In Foothills, On Plains

Lower North Fork Fire in March 2012. (credit: CBS)

We know that anything can happen in Colorado, but without significant precipitation soon, the reality for a major fire is growing by the day along and east of Interstate 25.

Now is the time to start fire mitigation around your home.

Click here for a great resource with tips on how to protect your family from a wildfire.

Wildfire Resources

– Visit’s Living With Wildfire section.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

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

Meteorologist Chris Spears writes about stories related to weather and climate in Colorado. Check out his bio, connect with him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @ChrisCBS4.


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