By Makenzie O’Keefe

DENVER (CBS4)– Colorado is on track to have one of the busiest wildfire seasons in years.

On Friday, Gov. John Hickenlooper met with fire officials from around the state to talk about the wildfire season outlook for 2018.

A grass fire burns in Elbert County in early February. (credit: Elbert County Sheriff’s Office/Twitter)

Officials say this fire season is expected to be above average. The last time Colorado saw a fire season that bad was in 2012 with the Waldo Canyon and High Park fires, and in 2013 when the Black Forest Fire burned dozens of homes and left behind hundreds of charred acres.

Fire leaders say the lack of snow this past winter has left the mountains bare, and areas of Colorado are already experiencing extreme drought conditions.

Gov. Hickenlooper (credit: CBS)

Since most of the fires in Colorado are human-caused, the state’s main message now is for everyone to be responsible and fire aware. They’re asking homeowners and residents across Colorado to help government agencies prevent fires.

Hickenlooper added that small storms this spring won’t improve conditions.

“Getting this hint of moisture is a cause for concern because people get complacent,” Hickenlooper said. “We get small storms and so making sure individual home owners are aware and paying attention to fire dangers is priority.”

Stan Hilkey, the Executive Director of The Colorado Department of Safety says crews learned a lot from the Black Forest Fire and are prepared for what’s ahead.

“The state is prepared to be aggressive and attack fires the way they should be when they’re threatening homes and people,” Hilkey said.

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.

Makenzie O’Keefe joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2017. Read her bio, follow her on Twitter at @makenziepokeefe or email her your story ideas.


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