Colorado Springs

More money for aggressive wildfire response in Colorado – Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs, Colorado 2021-04-08 22:43:50 –

Denver — Three of Colorado’s largest wildfires burned hundreds of thousands of acres in 2020, and state firefighters are now incorporating the strategies they learned last year into their 2021 state fire plans.

Colorado had about 5,300 fires in the summer and fall of 2020, burning more than 600,000 acres. Top fire experts in the state expect 2021 to be the same as the dry conditions continue this spring and the snow melts faster.

“Extreme droughts and dangerous fuel buildups can cause large, fast-moving fires,” said Mike Morgan, head of the Colorado Fire Control Agency.

The term “season of fire” is no longer relevant in Colorado. Due to the large-scale fires that occur even in winter, the threat of fires is a concern all year round. What firefighters call the “core” fire season is an extension of the warm months when the snow is almost melted. Morgan said he would hire firefighters, mostly college students, for four months from the 1970s to the 1980s. Currently, the state has added 78 days to the core fire season for more than two months.

Climate change is one of the fuels for large-scale fires, as 15 of the state’s 20 largest fires have occurred since 2012. Faster melting snow, dry conditions, and vulnerabilities to non-existent monsoons contribute to the mountainous environment. Ripe to burn.

Population growth is also behind the destructive nature of fires. Governor Jared Polis said the number of people living on the border between fire-prone wilderness and cities has increased from 2 million to 2.9 million in five years, putting several people and their homes at risk of fire. Said.

“These trends and droughts are not unusual. They really have a future due to climate change and significant population growth,” said Governor Police.

Governor Police pointed out that the state’s population is ready to exceed 8 million by 2040.

With more money and more aggression in early fire response, Morgan comes to believe that the state can be ahead of the most devastating fires this summer and in the future.

“What that means is that we are trying to provide more resources to local chiefs and local sheriffs to prevent the fire from growing,” Morgan said.

Morgan said the CDFPC has divided the resources by marking the states in quadrants. They look at weather, snow, soil moisture, and other conditions to determine where a fire is likely to occur, and have resources nearby to respond more quickly if it does occur.

The new Firehawk helicopter can carry 1,000 gallons to extinguish a fire. This is more than three times as much as most fire extinguishing helicopters the state has. The state has also extended exclusive contracts with fire extinguishing aircraft, most of them from 3 months to over 230 days to accommodate the longer and more destructive growing core fire season. It has been extended.

“Colorado is leading the country,” Morgan said. “I’m spending a little more today, but as a result there aren’t many long-term events.”

The La Nina Meteorological System provided great support for the northern regions of the state and parts of the western slopes. As a result, Morgan warns that southern Colorado is at risk of above-average fires in mid-May, sneaking north in June and west by July.

More money for aggressive wildfire response in Colorado Source link More money for aggressive wildfire response in Colorado

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