From the Colorado Office of Emergency Management
Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Awareness Week: Wildfire Information
The wildfire names roll off the tongue. The 2000s have been rough years for fire in Colorado:
- Hayman Fire,
- Four Mile Fire,
- High Park Fire,
- Missionary Ridge Fire,
- Waldo Canyon Fire,
- Royal Gorge Fire,
- Black Forest Fire, and
- West Fork Complex Fire
These are but a few of the fires we have seen in the past 10 to 15 years. Drought, pine beetle damage, the increase of habitation in the wildland urban interface (WUI), years of tight fire management have all contributed to the increase of high impact fires.
National Weather Service Support to Wildfires
To assist in your preparation for fire, the National Weather Service provides a variety of fire weather forecast products. Twice a day in Colorado, fire weather planning forecasts are made from each weather service office serving the state.
A Fire Weather Watch may be issued if in the next 12 to 48 hours the forecast includes gusty winds of 25 MPH or greater, relative humidities of less than 15 percent for at least three hours, dry lightning, or a combination of weather and fuel conditions that may make large wildfires possible.
A Red Flag Warning will be issued if these same critical fire conditions are forecast within the next 24 hours. Both Fire Weather Watches and Red Flag Warnings are issued in coordination with land management agencies.
The Fire Weather Spot Program supports land management agencies for both prescribed burns and for wildfires. A Fire Weather Spot Forecast is a detailed forecast for an individual fire.
For National Type II or Type I fires the National Weather Service will detail an IMET Incident Meteorologist to a fire team to provide onsite weather support and detailed fire forecasts.
If you live in the wildland urban interface (WUI) there are a number of actions you can take to reduce your personal fire threat including reducing vegetation near the home and putting a fire resistant roof on your home. More information is available from your local fire department
and at Ready Colorado
When a fire occurs, there may be years of increased flood threat on the burn scar, as a healthy forest can handle an inch to inch and a half of rain with no flood risk. Once the litter and vegetation is removed by fire as little as a half inch of rain in a short period can cause serious and possibly life threatening flooding.