BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — Nearly a year after one of the worst wildfire seasons in state history kicked off, fire restrictions are being lifted in some counties that were impacted.
Restrictions in Clear Creek and Boulder counties, and Canyon Lakes Ranger District were lifted. The Pawnee National Grasslands restrictions were removed too.
Some are wondering if this move was premature. Those who worked the fires last year had some thoughts on the subject.
They told us they do not want to see anything like that this year but for now, we’re okay for a clear reason: more rain and vegetation this year.
“Last spring, leading into this time of the year, we had no moisture,” Cody Peel, Forest, Fire and Aviation Staff Officer for the Arapaho and Pawnee National Grasslands said. “We’ve been getting quite a bit of moisture, so much so, we’ve been dealing with flooding, landslides and things of that nature. It just changed the condition of the forests.”
The decreased danger led officials to remove restrictions placed in several counties like Boulder.
The Lefthand Fire Protection District chief said for now, the move checks out.
“Given the current conditions that we have, it seems like a reasonable thing to do. We’re very green for this time of year, we have a lot of moisture in the ground,” Chief Chris O’Brien said.
O’Brien has been with the district for 12 years. He worked on the Calwood and Lefthand fires in 2020. He said he knows the restrictions are not always easy to follow.
“It’s challenging for folks, we’re a very recreational area. A lot of folks like to come here to recreate, camp, and do all the things associated with camping including have small wildfires and things,” O’Brien said.
Despite the challenges, he and his team are always thinking about wildfire prevention, even when the ground is well saturated.
“Typically, what we do is what we refer to as an educational patrol. So, we’ll go into known areas and check in with folks at their camps and let them know what the current restrictions are. I answer any questions they might have; ensure they have the proper supplies and the proper tools on hand to extinguish any campfires if they started a campfire,” O’Brien said.
Although things are optimistic right now, the Forest Service could always bring back the restrictions if the models begin to show abnormally dry and hot weather in the coming months.