Wildfire season likely less fierce than normal in Colorado, thanks to cool temps, late-season snow | SummitDaily.com

Wildfire season likely less fierce than normal in Colorado, thanks to cool temps, late-season snow

Risk is higher on the Western Slope, where frost killed plants adding to the fuel load

By Kirk Mitchell | kmitchell@denverpost.com | The Denver Post

Structures can be seen burning as the Waldo Canyon Fire west of Colorado Springs rages out of control in 2012. Federal fire forecasters say the risk of similar wildfires is lower than normal this season.

Meteorologists who predict fire danger say a cooling trend this spring means the chance for wildfires in Colorado and Wyoming and parts of South Dakota is lower than normal this summer, according to the National Interagency Fire Center's summer outlook.

"We'll have some fires and periods of fire activity, but it's not looking like one of our busy years," said Russ Mann, a meteorologist for the National Park Service.

Over the next 120 days, forecasters expect about 135,000 acres of grass and forest land to be burned by large wildfires in Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota, Mann said.

By comparison, 947,000 acres of forest and grasslands were destroyed in 2012, he said. Colorado had numerous highly destructive wildfires that year, including the Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs and the High Park fire that destroyed more than 87,000 acres in Larimer County.

Read the full story on The Denver Post website.