April snow didn't eliminate fire danger

8:48 PM, May 3, 2013   |    comments
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KUSA- Even though April was a wet month, an expert says we can't let our guard down when it comes to wildfires.

Einar Jensen, the life safety educator with South Metro Fire Rescue, says the moisture isn't enough to eliminate the fire danger.

"We'll still need to be cautious in Colorado this summer and this fall, but it won't be as extreme as we saw last year, " he said.

2012 was an extreme fire season. It was one of the most active fire seasons on record in Colorado. It began in March with the Lower North Fork Fire in Jefferson County. Several other destructive fires followed, including the High Park fire in Larimer County and the Waldo Canyon Fire near Colorado Springs.

This year a normal fire season is predicted. It's off to a slow start and Jensen says residents should take that as an opportunity to prepare for a fire.

"April was great in terms of snowfall in terms of greening up our ecosystems," he said. "It's been great, but at some point all that great new growth is going to dry out like it does every September and October, and all that extra fuel could easily cause a higher potential for fire this fall."

Residents can help protect their property by removing plants and trees within 30 feet of their home. Jensen say's it's especially important for people who live within a mile of an open space area or greenbelt.

"We still need to be aware of what that local fire danger potential is, and a good test for that is what I would call the crunch test. So, if you're out in the woods you're hiking a trail or something you're walking on the grass if you can hear the crunching under your feet that fuel is dry and it could burn if it's exposed to fire," he said.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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