While the country is focused on the latest named storm to make landfall, Colorado is still naming fires.
The latest is the Ryan Fire burning in the Routt and Medicine Bow National Forests near the Colorado – Wyoming state line. The fire started Saturday and as of Sunday evening, it had burned nearly 2,000 acres. In all, the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center is keeping an eye on 10 active fires burning in Colorado. Some have been smoldering for weeks.
“The two fires of most significance right now that have incident management teams on it include the Ryan Fire and the Silver Creek Fire,” said RMACC manager Scott Swendsen.
The Silver Creek Fire sparked on July 19 and recently regained strength, burning nearly 12,000 acres northwest of Kremmling. It was 35 percent contained as of Monday afternoon. The recent stretch of dry, warm weather hasn’t been of much help to fire crews. August didn't bring enough rain either.
“The rains that did come through were not of sufficient amounts to really put a lot of those early season fires to bed,” Swendsen said.
The fires may not go out until a significant snow or rain event. Swendsen said RMACC meteorologists don’t see that happening soon. Lack of precipitation, warm temperatures and Colorado’s long-term drought are creating conditions ripe for large fires. Colorado should catch a break as the seasons change.
“We do see a trend to cooler temperatures,” Swendsen said. “We’re starting to see a transition where we will have probably less and less fire activity.”
Swendsen said fire potential for October is expected to be average, however, that means there’s still a chance for large fires.