Gov. Polis gives Thursday update on Colorado wildfire response

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DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis held a press conference Thursday to update Coloradans on the state’s wildfire response.

Several officials joined Polis for the update, including:

  • Stan Hilkey, Executive Director of the Department of Public Safety 
  • Scott Jalbert, Rocky Mountain Area Command, Area Commander 
  • Mike Morgan, Director Division of Fire Prevention and Control  
  • Kevin Klein, Director Division of Homeland Security Management 
  • Greg Hanson, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, NWS Boulder Forecast
  • Shoshana Lew, Colorado Dept.. of Transportation Executive Director
  • General Laura Clellan, Colorado National Guard
  • Chief Matt Packard, Colorado State Patrol

The Colorado National Guard was activated Wednesday to help with search and rescue efforts for the East Troublesome Fire.

“We are seeing dryer and hotter conditions in our state, we are experiencing a statewide drought that leads to climate conditions ideal for the rapid growth of forest fires,” said Gov. Polis.

The Governor says the state is making sure communities who have been forced to evacuate are safe. On the ground, fire barriers are being put down to prevent wildfires from spreading.

Working against them are current weather conditions, officials say strong winds and lack of moisture continue to fuel the wildfires.

“Typically we don’t see these conditions this late in the year, we expect to see snow stay around and extinguish these fires this time of the year,” said Greg Hanson with the NWS Boulder Forecast.

Three of the largest wildfires in the state’s history have taken place this year, resources are being moved around but officials say it may not be enough.

“We don’t have enough resources to completely envelop this fire, these are large fires and so we are in a defensive mode,” said Area Commander Scott Jalber with the Rocky Mountain Area Command.

Investigations are underway to determine the cause of the fires, but the majority are believed to have been started by people.

“It serves an example to be careful and cautious and preventing that can cause untold misery,” said Gov. Polis.

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