May is Wildfire Awareness Month in Colorado and officials are encouraging folks to better prepare their homes and communities for fire danger as first responders are also challenged by the pandemic.
Suggestions include raking and removing pine needles and dry leaves at least five feet away from the home and out from under decks and porches, as well as making sure home address signs are clearly visible from the street. It's also important to pay attention to fire restrictions and conditions.
During an average year, Colorado will see about 4,500 wildfires that burn around 168,000 acres, including several large fires, according to the state forest service. Additionally, close to half of all Coloradans live in the wildland-urban interface or areas where structures and other human developments meet or intermingle with wildland vegetation. The agency says the new coronavirus has created challenges for firefighters this year, including less flexibility and fewer resources.
Last month, the organization Colorado State Fire Chiefs sent a letter to Governor Jared Polis asking for a six-month statewide burn ban to help reduce the risk of wildfires during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Polis did not enact the ban, but said his administration is looking at possible amendments to the law to allow counties to implement burning bans for resource protection rather than just high fire danger.
Current information on current fire conditions and restrictions can be found at coemergency.com