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Wildfire takes animals and thousands of acres of land at family ranch in Lamar

The family said it could have been much worse without the help of neighbors.

LAMAR, Colo. — The May family said a wildfire took some of their animals and thousands of acres of their land on Friday in Lamar, Colorado -- and they said they're lucky it wasn't worse. 

Drought conditions are getting worse in the state, and so is the potential for more wildfires.

Colorado used to prepare for wildfires in the middle of summer, but now, they are becoming more common year-round -- even during one of the state's snowiest months. 

"We don't have the benefits of moisture in the soil," Dallas May said. "Friday's fire was the example of that."

Dallas May and his son, Riley May, said the flames on Friday burned around 9,500 acres on the May Ranch in southeastern Colorado. Winds topped 60 miles per hour, which made it impossible to stop the flames. 

"Every single day, especially when it's windy, unless it has rained, which hasn't been very often, we are concerned about wildfire in this area," Riley May said. 

It's dry on their land, just like most of the state, which makes wildfire risk very high.

Friday, state leaders described how they're trying to prepare.

Credit: KUSA

RELATED: 'This is in many ways an emergency': State working on wildfire response, preparedness

New legislation would set aside money to add more firefighting planes and choppers in Colorado. It would also help create a statewide 24/7 dispatch center. 

"I can't stress how critical that piece is as we see these large catastrophic events exceed local capability more and more often," Chief Mike Morgan with the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control said.

The fire on May Ranch killed some animals, but the family said it could have been much worse without the help of neighbors.

"They literally saved hundreds of animals' lives at the risk of losing their own," Dallas May said.

Endangered black-footed ferrets that were released on the ranch five months ago were also spared from the fire. The May family is incredibly grateful the fire didn't touch that portion of the land.

RELATED: Scientists tracking wildfire risk to Colorado communities

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