Wildfire season outlook ‘normal’ so far | SummitDaily.com

Wildfire season outlook ‘normal’ so far


EAGLE COUNTY – With wet, wintry weather persisting well into May, fire danger is currently low, experts say.”We’re hoping for a normal season,” said Eric Rebitzke, with the Upper Colorado River Fire Management Unit. “There’s some real dry stuff up in South Dakota and the northern Rockies – Montana and Idaho, but the snowpack in Colorado is above normal and the moisture total for the year is also a half-inch above normal.”The only pocket of moderate dryness in Colorado, he said, is in the Craig area above Steamboat Springs.Kathy Warren, a spokeswoman at the Eagle River Fire Protection District, said the agency is currently assessing fire conditions.”It’s been a pretty wet spring,” she said. “At this point in time, there isn’t any real danger.”Rebitzke cautions that conditions can always change.”It’s all conditional on what kind of moisture we receive for the rest of the spring and early summer,” he said. “There were some hints of an El Nino setting up, but I don’t think anyone really knows.”El Nino, a global weather pattern that can cause increased rainfall in some parts of the world and drought in others, can affect Colorado in adverse ways.”It would mean a cutoff of monsoon flow and translate into a higher-than-average fire season,” Rebitzke said. “But at this point, it’s still up in the air.”The National Weather Service Web site that tracks El Nino rates the condition thus far this year as “neutral,” indicating no apparently significant El Nino activity.

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