DENVER - 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 Division of Fire Prevention and Control, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management said the areas of greatest potential for wildfire are the plains of Eastern Colorado, until the green-up expands; southeastern Colorado, where severe drought conditions continue; and southwest Colorado, where snowpack values are below average.
"With forecasts and planning, plus the addition of new resources related to wildfire response, we are doing what we can at the state level to be prepared in the best way possible," Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said Monday.
The governor explained that 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.
"Normalcy should not in any way imply relaxing or lessening of our vigilance," Hickenlooper said.
Hickenlooper also 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.