Wet weather reduces risk of wildfires; experts warn to be ready anyway

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DENVER -- Colorado's wet weather is helping delay wildfire season. But will it stay that way during the peak wildfire season next month?

Fire meteorologist Tim Mathewson with the Rocky Mountain Coordination Center said it looks like the fire risk will remain below average for the rest of June and could turn to a more average fire season in mid-July.

But he said don’t let all the green vegetation fool you into being complacent when it comes to fire mitigation around your home. All that fuel will eventually dry out.

“Last year, for example, very wet spring into the summer months and we still had a 20,000-acre fire in northwestern Colorado. So these wet conditions don’t completely dismiss having a fire season,” he said.

Kitty Pring has heeded the wildfire warning. She works on the weeds at her Mount Vernon home off Interstate 70 near Genesee. A lot of moisture has fed their insatiable appetites.

“It’s the old story. Good news bad news,” she said.

The good news is the green vegetation makes wildfires hard to burn, but but the bad: “Assuming we get dry weather in late July, August or September, that is highly flammable material,” she said.

Five years ago, she and her husband created defensible space around their home by taking out 40 trees, trimming shrubbery and putting up cement siding.

”If you look around our house you’ll see a lot of concrete. Concrete doesn’t burn. Stone doesn’t burn,” Pring said.

Her hope is a kinder Mother Nature will help Coloradans avoid a destructive and deadly wildfire season that most have grown so weary of experiencing in recent years.

Mathewson said there will probably be about 3,000 wildfires this season despite the moisture, but he said the majority will stay small.

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