BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — What started the NCAR fire Saturday is still under investigation, but wildfire experts say moisture on the ground and winds that weren’t terribly strong helped keep it from traveling to nearby homes.
“Even when you see pics of the NCAR fire there is snow on the ground,” said Camille Stevens-Rumann, assistant professor of forest and fire ecology at Colorado State University.
Stevens-Rumann said in the months leading up to the devastating Marshall fire back at the end of December, the state had very little moisture.
“The fuels were dried out and ready to burn much more than they are now,” Stevens-Rumann said.
Another factor is wind. On Saturday, when the NCAR fire started, wind gusts were about 50 mph and there was some humidity in the air. On days like that, Colorado State University Climatologist Russ Schumacher said there can be a lower risk for fires.
“It’s not like what we saw with the Marshall fire with 70 mph throughout the whole day,” Schumacher said.
Stevens-Rumann is also a trained wildland firefighter. She said when it comes to battling fires with structures involved, other fire crews with different training need to be on scene.
“As a wildland firefighter, we aren’t trained to deal with structure fires. I know there is very little I could have done, but it feels more manageable when I think about the trees burning,” Stevens-Rumann said.
Schumacher said neither the day of the Marshall Fire nor the day of the NCAR fire had a Red Flag Warning activated.