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Warm, windy, dry weather raise Colo. fire danger

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Neptune PV-2 Air Tanker drops fire retardant. Photo: masslive.com

Neptune PV-2 Air Tanker drops fire retardant. Photo: masslive.com

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — It’s unusual for a large fire fighting air tanker to be stationed in Colorado at this time of year, but then our weather is unusual.

March is normally our snowiest month. We’re still waiting to see if we get any snow at all before the end of the month. Don’t hold your breath, it’s not showing up on the long term forecast.

Fire danger could be high in eastern Colorado, southeast Wyoming and far western Nebraska and South Dakota by this weekend.

The danger could turn extreme by Sunday in southern Colorado east of the Continental Divide.

Fire managers put two air tankers on standby earlier this week because of the growing threat. The two air tankers are stationed at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Jefferson County.

Yuma County Sheriff Chad Day says it appears an electrical spark started a wildfire on Colorado’s eastern plains last Sunday that burned 37 square miles.

Three firefighters were hurt while trying to escape from their stranded fire truck.

Jennifer Struckmeyer is recovering following surgery at North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley. She was in critical condition. Her brother-in-law, Damon Struckmeyer, and firefighter Darren Stewart were treated and released.

Two farmsteads were destroyed and about 50 cattle were killed. Property damage is estimated at about $500,000.

Some residents spent much of the week looking for lost cattle.

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