Snowfall Helps to Pause Fires, However Northern Colorado is Not Out of the Woods Yet

Snow Pic from Cameron Peak. Photo courtesy of the Rocky Mountain Fire Prevention Education Team.

The Cameron Peak fire continues to burn despite the snowfall that took place Sunday, October 25 through Monday, October 26, due to highly unusual fire conditions resulting from critically high humidity levels, extreme drought, and severe beetle kill.

Wildfires have burned over 400,000 acres in Colorado this year, proving to be one of the worst fire seasons in the state’s history. Season-ending analysis graphs help gauge the potential for a season-ending event to occur during a normal fire season; however, this year is anything but normal.

“This year’s fire behavior in Colorado has been erratic and, at times, extreme; it is often hard to predict what these types of fires do,” said Caley Fisher, Public Information Officer for the Division of Fire Prevention and Control. “The snow has done positive things, and the fires are on pause but have not necessarily stopped,” Caley said.

Data used in these analyses does not adequately capture the drought scenario that the Rocky Mountain Region is currently dealing with. Season-ending analysis data is virtually unusable as this year’s fire conditions have not occurred over the course of the past 20 years.

The approaching winter season and weather change bring hope for relief from the fires, but what is needed to end this fire season is multiple back-to-back storm systems containing significant precipitation and/or high levels of snow accumulation that stay through the season. Extreme drought conditions will continue without significant moisture. They could potentially lead to the fires re-emerging in the spring due to heat in the larger fuels that could survive even under snow cover.

Fire danger remains elevated for the foreseeable future, and the communities of Northern Colorado must continue to be vigilant and take precautions to prevent unwanted human-caused wildfires.

“We need to maintain a vigilant posture and follow county guidelines on fire restrictions,” said Caley.

For more updated information regarding the Cameron Peak fire, visit:

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