BROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4) – Firefighters warn a dangerous combination of dry conditions and high winds could create wildfires across the state as high temperatures and a lack of moisture remain in the forecast.
“Our wild land season is really just transitioning to the plains right now,” said Captain Richard Randall of North Metro Fire Rescue District. “Very dry, it will move very rapidly.”
Those dry conditions fueled a fire in Durango. Crews had the fire 80 percent
contained over the weekend and it didn’t damage any buildings. But the climate helping those flames could remain for several days.
“The conditions are dry right now,” said Randall. “We haven’t had any low level moisture or snow yet.”
Fields around Station 66 in Broomfield demonstrate the conditions on the ground. Grass is dry and when it’s long enough, it serves as a strong fuel. The concern is especially high in rural areas where there aren’t roads or other barriers to prevent fires from spreading.
“The grass, which I’m holding in my hand, is crunchy,” he said standing outside the station. “It’s still hasn’t been compacted by the snow, very dry.”
Late November can often be a time of year when many residents are focused on the holidays and don’t have wildfires on their mind, even if they live in an area that could be in danger. But while the snow is up in the mountains, the conditions in the prairie lands are still similar to what all of Colorado sees in the summer.
Recently the state has seen mild winters and that leaves the potential for fires all year long. It’s a change in the weather pattern residents need to prepare for across the metro area. Development is bringing homes closer to fields that could spark easily in strong winds. Firefighters recommend mowing down any grass and using extreme caution with any outside fires.
“Be very careful with those,” said Randall. “We’re still not out of the woods yet, so to speak with our wild land fire.”