Colorado's Worst Fire Season In A Decade Continues
Colorado’s worst fire season since 2002 has yet to be fully extinguished. Despite recent snowfall the Fern Lake Fire continues to smolder in Rocky Mountain National Park, and has been since October.
Jennifer Jones of the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise says overall – more than 9.2 million acres have burned across the U.S. this year. There were actually fewer fires than the 10 year average, however she does note that the fires this year were bigger.
“Interestingly, we had about 14 fires that burned over 100,000 acres 5 of those fires were in Idaho, and those 14 fires alone account for about 3.4 million acres, or a third of the land that burned this year,” said Jones.
There were 1,490 fires in Colorado this year and over 251,000 acres were burned. Here is a list of the number of fires and acres burned in Colorado since 2002, the year the Hayman Fire burned 215 square miles of land in the state.
- 2002 -- 3,067 fires -- 926,502 acres
- 2003 -- 2,027 fires -- 27,655 acres
- 2004 -- 1,290 fires -- 24,996 acres
- 2005 -- 1,364 fires -- 27,390 acres
- 2006 -- 2,025 fires -- 94,484 acres
- 2007 -- 1,351 fires -- 20,739 acres
- 2008 -- 1,133 fires -- 141,966 acres
- 2009 -- 1,190 fires -- 50,456 acres
- 2010 -- 1,076 fires -- 40,788 acres
- 2011 -- 1,286 fires -- 161,167 acres
- 2012 -- 1,490 fires -- 251,843 acres
Now is the time for people living near woodland areas to prepare for next year’s fire season says Jones. Homeowners in those red zones should develop plans to safeguard their homes through mitigation.
"It's always fire season somewhere in the United States. And pretty shortly after the 1st of the year, we will see a significant numbers of fires and acres burning in the southeastern United States and moving across the west as we move into our traditional fire season."
A new website developed by the U.S. Forest Service aims at helping communities prepare for the 2013 fire season by creating Fire Adapted Communities. The site offers a wealth of information including fire danger ratings, a wildfire home assessment checklist, and community wildfire protection plans.