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Drought conditions return to Colorado; more fire restrictions issued

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Crops in the distance are watered beneath the sweltering sun on March 29, 2015 in Kern County, California, which became the nation’s number 2 crop county for the first time in 2013, near where the West branch of the California Aqueduct begins its ascent to Castaic and Pyramid Lakes in the Angeles National Forest, supplying […]

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- More than 25 percent of Colorado is considered abnormally dry, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report. This comes less than a month after just 2 percent of the state was labeled in the same category.

The recent hot and dry conditions have also increased fire danger, causing several counties to issue fire restrictions.

“The fuels are starting to dry out,” West Metro Fire Department Lt. Brendan Finnegan said. “All the heavy rains and precipitation we had in the early summer and spring grasses have grown very tall. Now it’s starting to get hotter and drier.”

Jefferson, Boulder, Gilpin and Clear Creek counties issued stage 1 fire restrictions, while Elbert County issued stage 3 restrictions in the past week.

“Always check with the campground or the regional park that you’re attending to see what restrictions are in place,” Finnegan said.

On Aug. 25, just 2.04 percent of Colorado was listed as abnormally dry by the U.S. Drought Monitor. Less than a month later in its latest report, 25.57 percent of the state is listed in that category.

The abnormally dry areas include the north-central, northeast, southeast and northwest portions of the state.

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