White River Forest supervisor: ‘Fire danger will continue to increase,’ caution advised | VailDaily.com

White River Forest supervisor: ‘Fire danger will continue to increase,’ caution advised

Current conditions similar to those of 2018, when Lake Christine Fire burned 12,500 acres near Basalt

Air crews were flying over the Lake Christine Fire on July 3, 2018, soon after it started. Forest Service officials are saying current conditions are starting to look like those that helped the Lake Christine Fire spread to 12,500 acres in 2018.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times

In 2018, the Lake Christine Fire spanned 12,500 acres, and White River National Forest officials say fuel moisture conditions in the forest currently are approaching those of the fire two years ago near Basalt. Officials are continuing to urge caution as areas of the forest are seeing high public visitations.

Forest personnel have also been reporting a “high number” of both illegal and abandoned campfires “all season long,” according to a news release by the Forest Service on Thursday.

“The forest is drying, and the hot and dry conditions over the next few weeks mean no relief is in sight,” White River Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said in the news release. “We often see monsoonal moisture by now to take the edge off, but fire danger will continue to increase.”

The National Weather Service is predicting the next few months to be hotter than normal with below average precipitation.

“With conditions lining up to be ideal for large wildfires like they were in 2018, we need visitors to be especially careful,” Fitzwilliams said. “Follow fire restrictions. Make sure if you are in an area where campfires are allowed that your fire is out cold before you leave camp.”

The Lake Christine Fire started on July 3, 2018, near the Basalt Shooting Range and was linked back to tracer rounds.

Forest Service tips include:

  • Stir water into your campfire and make sure it is cold to the touch before you leave
  • Never throw a cigarette out of your vehicle window
  • Avoid parking in or shooting near dry grass and vegetation
  • Make sure equipment is in good working order with spark arresters
  • Be careful that trucks and trailers are not dragging chains, which can create sparks that ignite fires

For more information and tips, visit http://www.smokeybear.com.

For more information about the White River National Forest and up-to-date restrictions, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver.

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