Dry weather sparking concerns for Colorado Springs firefighters

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – It has been dry across Southern Colorado, and fire danger has been elevated because of it. With surface fuels extremely dry and winds picking up in the next few days, firefighters in Colorado Springs are concerned about potential future fires.

Colorado Springs Fire Department captain and public information officer Mike Smaldino said that in the past few weeks, several fires have spread across the city from the mountains to I-25, with dry fuels to blame for most.

He said that many neighborhoods have large areas of dry brush and if sparked, it would cause a fire to spread fast.

“The way it is dry is a really big concern for us especially as these grass fires keep popping up. We have a lot of fuels as we come through the middle of town along the creekside there so there’s some big concerns happening,” Smaldino said.

2021 has been a roller coaster when it comes to rain for Colorado Springs, as May and July brought an over-average amount of rainfall causing plants to overgrow.

Colorado Springs precipitation amounts in 2021

With little to no rain in August, October, and so far in November, everything is drying out because of it.

“Our roadside fires are probably going to be our biggest concerns right now because there is a lot of dead grass,” Smaldino said.

Smaldino said the biggest concerns for the department are in neighborhoods along the mountains with large areas of open space, and along highways as a fire could start quickly if it were to spark.

“For us, our high travel area is I-25 we do have a lot of roadside small fires that happen. You know whether it’s from some of the homeless camps that might be on the sides of the road or to just traveling chains and cigarettes,” Smaldino said. “We want to make sure is everybody is just paying attention being aware that we are dry it is going to be windy and until we get some significant moisture we are going to be in this for a while.”

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