11:25pm

Mon June 3, 2013
Wildfires

Fire Officials Urge Caution

The fire season is underway, with evacuations near Denver for what’s being called the Bluebell Fire. The blaze started yesterday in the Evergreen area, just west of Denver.

Two much smaller fires were reported in the Roaring Fork Valley this weekend. One was up Thompson Creek, near Carbondale. The other was in Aspen City limits, next to Aspen Mountain. Right now, fire danger varies a little along the Roaring Fork Valley. In the Carbondale area it’s moderate, it is low in Aspen.  Ron Leach is Chief of the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District.  Leach is advising caution.

Air Park Fire near Durango, Colorado. July 22nd, 2012.
Credit Elise Thatcher

“We’re recommending no burning, for the rest of the summer. The conditions now are much better than they were last year at this time. I think that for the rest of the summer, the conditions will be favorable if we get a little bit of summer rain once a week or so. If we don’t get any rain around here for three, and four and five weeks at a time, fire danger goes up considerably.

“Exactly true, what Ron said. Right now the trees are pretty stressed, because it’s been such a drought for so long. Even after a rain you can dig down in the dirt and come to very dry dirt just within a very small distance.“

Rick Balentine is Fire Chief for the Aspen Protection District. He also says this year is much better than last year. Still, the fact fire danger in the Aspen area is low should not fool people into being complacent.

“The most important thing is to stay vigilant, just because everything’s green right now doesn’t mean it won’t burn.”

Aspen will also be hosting one in a series of meetings to educate locals about preventing--and surviving--wildfires. That’s on Thursday night at Aspen’s Fire Department.