Snow could delay fire season in Colorado

DENVER - While California is seeing devastating fires this spring, late season snows are delaying fire season in Colorado.

Colorado's statewide snowpack is at 120 percent of average right now. Last year at this time, it was at 82 percent.

State and federal firefighting bosses say the current outlook for fire season in Colorado is expected to be normal, at least for the early part of the wildfire season.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said the "closer to average" prediction entails 3,000-3,500 fires, including about 300 of substantial size. All told, those fires could burn about 100,000 acres.

To help our state when fires happened, Hickenlooper signed three bills Monday related to wildfires: 

  • HB14-1008:  Allowing the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority to make loans for forest health projects.
  • HB14-1010: Makes adjustments to the prescribed burning program under the Division of Fire Prevention and Control  in the Department of Public Safety. 
  • SB14-164: Creates an aerial firefighting fleet that will include four planes, four leased helicopters, and money for a center to study high-tech firefighting equipment like night vision goggles.

In the last two years, Colorado has seen its worst fires in the month of June. The Waldo Canyon Fire near Colorado Springs started in June 2012.  That fire was considered Colorado's most destructive due to the high number of homes destroyed until one year later when the Black Forest Fire started in June 2013 near Colorado Springs. No cause has been released for either fire.

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