Snow leads to both relief and challenges for Colorado wildland firefighters

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DENVER (KDVR) — Wildland firefighters are experiencing icy conditions from Mother Nature as fires continue to rage across the state. The snow, is overall, a good thing. Officials said the freezing precipitation provides some relief. However, it also creates some challenges.

“It’s going to be great because [the snow] will definitely keep things quiet for a while,” said Cass Cairns, a spokesperson for Cameron Peak wildfire officials.

Cairns said division supervisors and branch directors spent Sunday morning inspecting the fire and road conditions before sending crews back out.

“They’ll go back out, and they’ll resume their structure protection,” she explained.

From a strategic standpoint, the snow could help if the frostiness keeps the flame front down, according to Cairns.

“They would be able to look towards maybe getting to the fire edge if it’s at a place that they can do so,” Cairns said.

Snow-covered roads can delay firefighters from getting where they need to be. Also, the cold snap could lead to equipment issues with water pumps.

“Yesterday [firefighters] spent time winterizing [pumps] so they wouldn’t freeze,” Cairns said. “They wanted to make sure that they are going to be fully functional once the fire starts getting active again.”

Crews are expecting another warming trend for the rest of the week after Tuesday. They are not sure how much the snowfall will help on Sunday and Monday.

The weekend is being viewed as a success to some degree. Despite windy weather, Cameron Peak crews were able to keep flames away from Estes Park and Glen Haven.

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