By Jamie Leary


(CBS4) – While some people are dreaming of powder and others have already made turns, fire forecasters are busier than ever and they warn it’s still fire season.

grass fire broomfield

Copter4 flew over a grass fire burning in open space in Broomfield on Oct. 14, 2019 (credit: CBSB)

“Not only did we have a concern for [Wednesday], we especially have a concern for [Thursday] across portions of the state,” said Tim Mathewson, Fire Meteorologist for the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center.

Mathewson’s monitors a large area; he’s forecasting for not only Colorado but Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas.

For Colorado in particular, he says the message is clear.

“The message is we’re not out of fire season. Fuel mitigation around the homes is gonna be important even in October.”

On Wednesday, Mathewson said two tankers were deployed to the Elk fire in Larimer County after a controlled burn jumped containment lines and forced evacuations.

Mathewson says snow is around the corner but first, Colorado can expect another blast of dry weather.

“We do have an approaching trough but ahead of that front, this time of year, we typically get very dry, warm and windy conditions.”

While Colorado saw snowfall in early October, it wasn’t enough moisture to bring the state out of drought, which continues to intensify, according to Mathewson.

“Warmer temperatures melted that snow off and we’re back into it again,” he said.

Mathewson says the good news is that the dry weather is not a predictor for the 2020 fire season. He says he typically starts to look at the snowpack in March to forecast for the 2020 fire season.

Wildfire Resources

– Visit CBSDenver.com’s Colorado Wildfires 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.

Jamie Leary

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