Snow brings relief, new set of challenges for Colorado firefighters

State

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Snow fell across the front range Sunday, bringing much-needed relief for firefighters battling the Cameron Peak and East Troublesome fires. 

Lt. Aaron Smith with Timberline Fire Protection District just returned from a 72-hour shift on the East Troublesome Fire.

“I’ve seen a lot of fire over my years. Apocalyptic is one of the easiest ways to describe the fire conditions we were seeing. Very extreme, to the point where we had to back off from fire engagement quite a bit,” said Smith.

Smith says in most fire seasons, a snow event of this magnitude would nearly eradicate the chance for flare-ups. But the conditions seen in October have been unprecedented.

“There will still be heat after this snow. You can have fire burning underneath the surface, roots and trees,” said Smith.

He says the upcoming fire risk will largely be determined by how quickly the snow melts.

Officials with the Cameron Peak Fire said Sunday they pulled crews off the fire line due to dangerous weather conditions and plan to do the same Monday. 

“The snow will help with moisture but it does add challenges from a personnel and logistical standpoint — keeping everybody warm and then keeping our equipment from freezing,” said Smith.

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