Despite the wet winter, fires are still a concern for the state.
Two wildfires are currently burning in Colorado, reminding everyone while reduced, the risk of forest fires is still very much alive.
As of July 10, the Tobin Fire in Costilla County, near Mount Blanca, is down to 10 acres but is not yet contained. The Costilla County Sheriff's Office updated its Facebook page with information that 30 firefighters and one helicopter are on scene to help control the fire. The good news is that this fire is down 30 to 50 acres from the night before.
The Costilla County Sheriff's Office posted a video to Facebook on July 9 showing aerial slurry-drop efforts to control the blaze.
The Beaver Fire in Roosevelt National Forest, Larimer County, started last week as a result of a lightning strike. It started as two to three acres when fire management crews arrived, and currently, it sits at about 85 acres. A majority of the increase is due to burnout efforts, which intentionally control-burns fuel between the fire and the indirect fire line in hopes of stopping the wildfire from growing. According to the US Forest Service, the blaze is about 25 percent contained.
Firefighters had been waiting on appropriate weather conditions to achieve this burnout. Indirect line and burnout operations are 2 techniques used when working a fire. Work continues today. Smoke will continue to be visible in the area. https://t.co/roz3P4A1Ey— Canyon Lakes Ranger RD (@usfsclrd) July 10, 2019
While these two have made the news, there are many other fires that have flared up in June and July. On the 4th of July, fireworks sparked a fire just outside of Grand Junction, endangering two subdivisions. The Red Elephant Hill Fire started just north of I-70 on June 28. The Doe Canyon Fire near Dolores was sparked by lightning on June 18 and was allowed to burn within pre-defined containment boundaries; the closure was just lifted on July 9. The 186 Fire north of Durango started by lightning on June 5 was contained thanks to fast-moving firefighters and a previous large fire several years ago that wiped out most of the older, dead trees and fuel in the area. All the above fires were extinguished or near extinguished as of July 10.
You can see several other up-to-date fire reports on active fires in Colorado on the Rocky Mountain Area's Coordination Center's incident map.
As summer heats up and our forests dry out, it is more critical than ever to do your part to prevent wildfires. Follow the U.S. Forest Service tips below for fire safety and prevention tips:
- Before going hiking or camping, check with the forest, grassland, or ranger district for fire restrictions or area closures.
- Plan ahead and prepare — know your route, and tell a responsible adult where you are going and when you plan to return.
- Sign in at the trailhead.
- Use alternatives to campfires during periods of high fire danger, even if there are no restrictions. Nine out of 10 fires are caused by humans.
- If you do use a campfire, make sure it is fully extinguished before leaving the area — be sure it is cold to the touch.
- If you are using a portable stove, make sure the area is clear of grasses and other debris that may catch fire. Prevent stoves from tipping and starting a fire.
- Practice Leave No Trace principles — pack out cigarette butts and burned materials from your camping area.
- Beware of sudden changes in the weather or changing weather conditions. For example, if you see a thunderstorm approaching, consider leaving the area. Fires started by lightning strikes are not unusual.
- If you see smoke, fire, or suspicious activities, note the location as best you can and report it to authorities. Call the National Fire Information Center or 911.
- Do NOT attempt to contact suspicious people or try to put out a fire by yourself.
- Be careful of parking or driving your car or ATV in tall, dry, vegetation, such as grass. The hot underside of the vehicle can start a fire.
Don't forget what Smokey Bear says: Only YOU can prevent wildfires!