Colorado needs snow for all kinds of reasons besides skiing

EVERGREEN, Colo. -- Snow totals at ski resorts across the state are below average for this time of year. The lack of snow doesn't just affect ski trips; there are long-term issues to be aware of as well.

The foothills and parts of the mountains are filled not with snow or ice but dry shrubs.

“It’s very concerning,” Foothills Fire Protection District Chief Brian Zoril said. “I would say this is the driest conditions we’ve seen since probably 2001-2002.”

While ski resorts across the state could use some fresh snow, the slopes aren't the only concern.

“I went skiing for the first time this weekend and it was pretty bad, snow is pretty bad, but what’s worse is the fire danger, and the overall problem with the ecosystem," Zoril said.

“The longer we go without significant moisture, the more the other fuels, the scrub oaks, the big trees, the dryer they get, and the more prone they get to actually succumbing to fire. It really can lead us through a bad fire season.”

“We’re way behind on our water input right now,” Allen Gallamore with the Colorado State Forest Service said.

He said fire is just one issue to worry about when it comes to lack of snow.

“It also will affect the forest health, health of the forest conditions as well as the amount of water that may be available for ground recharge, and then that directly affects the water supply of rural residents,” Gallamore said.

“I hope that it actually comes, I hope it’s a significant amount of snow,” Zoril said.

Zoril said mitigation is key, even in the cooler months. Cut down any high-growing grass and trim the trees to prevent fires from spreading.

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