How bad will wildfire threat be this summer?

DENVER - After a destructive and deadly fire season in Colorado in 2012 and the volatile situation now in California, 7NEWS is looking at the current threat in Colorado.

Experts tell 7NEWS the recent rains and moisture are preventing an early surge of wildfires, such as the Lower North Fork Fire that erupted in March 2012.  However, this not a guarantee the rest of the season will be as risk free.

"If we get into this summer, and we see persistent hot and dry and the Southwest monsoon is delayed or its weak, that could change the game in Colorado.  We could start seeing more fire activity than average," said Tim Mathewson, a meteorologist with the Rocky Mountain Fire Coordination Center.

In some parts of Colorado, especially the southwest, the conditions are still very dry -- making it ripe for fires to erupt.   Yet in the foothills, the presence of green grass is an encouraging sign the weather may be our side, at least for the moment.
"Mother nature will always throw a curve ball at you., especially the wind.  You just have to stay on top of it, try to predict what's going to happen, and be prepared for the opposite," said Lt. Brendan Finnegan of West Metro Fire.

In order to prepare for the worst, West Metro Fire held a drill Friday night to simulate saving a home in the midst of a fire zone.

"Erratic weather, erratic fire behavior, it changes from minute to minute," said Finnegan.


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