Firefighters urge caution after long week of midwinter wildfires

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DENVER -- Firefighters warn that while it's winter, it is still fire season in Colorado.

During the past week, firefighters fought wildfires through the Denver metro area, Boulder, Thornton and Fort Collins.

South Metro Fire community risk reduction specialist Einar Jensen said firefighters in his district fight more wildfires during the winter than during the summer.

"We think that a large part of that is that false sense of security. 'Oh, it's the middle of winter, we can't have a wildfire.' Yes we can. Today alone we've had multiple fires in our district, Littleton's district," Jensen said.

In Boulder County, investigators believe the Rogers Fire started from a slash pile that burned in January but never fully extinguished. Investigators believe high winds reignited the flames.

Investigators believe the Wagonwheel Gap Fire northwest of Boulder started from a downed power line pushed over by the wind.

In Fort Collins, investigators believe a cigarette butt tossed out a vehicle window sparked Friday's wildfire.

A wildfire burned in Thornton on Wednesday that investigators believe was started by sparklers.

Investigators said a grass fire that burned near Greenwood Village on Friday started from three juveniles playing with fireworks. That fire almost took out Tim Miller's barn.

"The flames, when the wind blew it, it would jump 4 or 5 feet pretty quick," Miller said.

"All over Colorado, it's currently wildfire season. Until we get big snow like we've had in the mountains, or lots of rain," Jensen said.

Jensen said the key is to mitigate property. He said firefighters were able to get ahead of the flames near Greenwood Village because the homeowner had trimmed the grass on the property, making it easier for firefighters.

Jensen also said it's critical to speak with children about how to use fire properly.

"It's a great reminder that kids can't just be kids with fire," Jensen said.