Colorado’s fire season is expected to rate below average this year. But these days, below average is still hardcore.

Every one of the 20 worst fires in Colorado's history happened in the past decade

Jennifer Brown
Colorado Sun
Wildfire danger remains a significant threat in the valley.
Wolfgang Uberbacher | Daily file photo

Colorado wildfire experts are predicting a slightly-below-average fire season, thanks to high snowpack, decent moisture and lower temperatures forecast throughout the summer and fall.

But, to put that in perspective, below-average for Colorado means about 6,000 wildfires and more than 100,000 acres burned.

“While we appear to have a little quieter fire season ahead of us, it does not eliminate the challenges that we as Coloradans and first-responders need to do to be prepared,” said Mike Morgan, director of the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.

The annual wildfire forecast and preparedness plan, required by state law, was presented this week to Gov. Jared Polis and Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera, who toured a hangar at Centennial Airport, a single-engine air tanker and a state-owned plane equipped with sensors that can detect a campfire some 30 miles away.

The forecast comes as a relief after last year’s fire season, which was among the worst in Colorado history. The state spent about $40 million — not counting local or federal funds — last year as 250,000 acres were scorched. Of the 20 worst fires in state history, five occurred in 2018.

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