by Terri Wiebold
On the heels of what some might argue was one of the wettest winters in Colorado history, is it possible that Douglas County is still in danger of wildland fire this summer? Absolutely.
According to Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management Director, Jamie Moore, snow does not always contain a lot of liquid moisture. Moore said that the moisture Castle Pines North (CPN) received would help the dead fuels that can carry fire, but that it had not done anything to help the live fuels. “The live trees are extremely drought stressed,” said Moore, “and that is a big, big concern for us.”
The increased moisture will, however, have in impact on grass growth in the area. The grass will grow longer and denser, causing additional fire fuels when the grass cures out. “We are most worried about fast moving grass fires that can quickly spread to scrub oak,” which is abundant in CPN cautioned Moore. He explained that scrub oak is a “ladder fuel” that burns extremely hot and allows fire to travel vertically to higher fuel sources like trees and structures.
In the coming weeks, the Department of Emergency Management will further assess the conditions in Douglas County and will make a recommendation to the County Commissioners as to whether or not a fire ban or additional restrictions are necessary. Updated information will be available at www.cpnhoa.org.