Dry lightning forecast Sunday could spark new blazes in tinder-dry fuels
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A worst-case fire scenario is unfolding in Colorado.
In addition to the 80,000-acre High Park Fire, several new starts are growing rapidly and may stretch firefighting resources across the state.
Updates on all the fires, along with contact information, evacuation notices and smoke-related health information are online at www.inciweb.org.
With much of the state under a red flag warning for extreme fire weather danger, a fire in the Estes Park destroyed at least 2o homes.
The Treasure Fire near Leadville, on the Pike San Isabel National Forest, sent a column of smoke high above the Tenmile Range that was visible in Summit County, where some residents reported falling ash. More information on Twitter at the #TreasureFire hashtag.
West of Colorado Springs, the Waldo Canyon Forest furiously burned more than 2,000 acres in just a few hours, triggering a wave of evacuations, but officials said at an evening briefing that no structures have been lost yet. Twitter updates are streaming in real time at the #WaldoCanyonFire hashtag and from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office at @EPCSheriff.
So far, the north-central mountains have been spared, but fire officials in Summit County said that all departments are on high alert and that a wildfire severity patrol means extra firefighters are on duty.
Conditions could worsen Sunday, with continued warm temperatures and a significant chance of dry lighting in the area. Fuels are so dry that a single lighting strike could spark fires, according to the regional Forest Service fire weather meteorologist Tim Mathewson.
Mathewson warned that the first surge of monsoonal moisture building from the south won’t be enough to alleviate the severe fire danger.
“Fuels are so dry that fires could start even with some rain in the area,” he said.
In southern Colorado, the Little Sand Fire has spread across almost 20,000 acres, burning mostly in a remote mountain area.
More large fires have started in Utah and Montana in the past couple of days, with several of the blazes in the West threatening homes and neighborhoods.
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, Environment, forest fires Tagged: | Colorado, Colorado wildfires, Estes Park Fire, Little Sand Fire, Springer Fire, Treasure Fire, Twitter, Waldo Canyon Fire