Wildfire Season Has Been Calm In Colorado, But We’re Not In The Clear Yet

The Middle Mamm Fire south of Rifle, one of just four wildfires currently burning in Colorado.

If it seems like this year’s wildfire season has been peculiar and quiet, that’s because it has been.

“The fire season has been well below average across the entire state of Colorado,” said Bryan Henry with the National Interagency Fire Center. “2018 was very active across central and western Colorado and up into Wyoming.”

This time last year, wildfire smoke hovered over the Front Range while low humidity and higher temperatures challenged firefighters.

But now, only four fires are currently burning in Colorado, two of which are prescribed burns, according to Inciweb. The drought that sucked crops dry last year was non-existent this spring.

Despite the wet winter that helped keep wildfires calm, Henry said the coming weak monsoon season is why we’re not in the clear yet.

“I think people should remain vigilant for the next few weeks, reason being is that most years, the monsoon has been enforced for a couple of months at this point,” he said. “The fuels are just now actually getting to their peak dryness across the western half of the state … Until a good solid wetting system comes through, I think the fuels are gonna remain receptive to fire activity should something occur.”

Northern and western Colorado are the biggest places of concern for potential wildfires, Henry said. Low temperatures and more humidity throughout the incoming fall nights will help vegetation stay moist, though.

The U.S. Drought Monitor map released earlier this week shows 80 percent of Colorado is free of drought. Except for the northeastern portion of the state, parts of the four corners and central Colorado are abnormally dry.

U.S. Drought Monitor
The Aug. 27, 2019 Drought Monitor map.

Colorado’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management enacted fire restrictions in several counties along the Front Range and other counties in the Eastern Plains.

People should still be aware of fire restrictions and monitor their campfires throughout Labor Day weekend, Henry said.

Dry and hot weather is expected throughout Colorado over the holiday weekend. Forecasters predict record heat on Monday.