After several days of rain drenched much of Colorado since the end of last week, Gov. John Hickenlooper lifted the statewide fire ban on Sunday that has been in place since June 14.
Extreme fire conditions have abated in all 64 Colorado counties as a result of the current rain storms as well as cooler and wetter weather to come in the forecast. However, the governor warned that local authorities may still see the need to continue fire bans.
“Mother Nature is finally giving us some relief,” Hickenlooper said. “Even though the 2012 wildfire season is far from over and still challenging, we believe conditions are such that local authorities and federal land managers ought to resume control over fire bans in their jurisdictions. Many counties have fire bans in place that will not change as a result of this Executive Order.”
Days of record heat, high winds and unseasonable dryness produced a surge of fires burning throughout Colorado for weeks, providing devastating growth conditions. As many as ten major fires were burning around the state in late-June, all part of the worst wildfire season in a decade.
The major state fires have been contained or are well on their way to full containment and no new fires are being monitored by the Office of Emergency Management, according to a press statement from the governor's office. Containment of the major fires is as follows:
- High Park Fire: 100 percent contained
- Waldo Canyon Fire: 98 percent contained
- Weber Fire: 90 percent contained
- Little Sand Fire: 40 percent contained
- Treasure Fire: 100 percent contained
- Flagstaff Fire: 100 percent contained
- Pine Ridge Fire: 100 percent contained
“We commend the people of Colorado for complying with the fire ban and the efforts of fire fighters, local law enforcement, federal land managers, Colorado National Guard, United States military and all other first responders for their assistance and collaboration during this wildfire season,” Hickenlooper said. “We will continue to monitor the fire danger across the state and re-enact the state-wide ban if necessary as conditions change.”
The fire ban was applied to open burning, including campfires, warming fires, charcoal grill fires, fused explosives and private use of fireworks.
More than 60 counties are forecast to move to moderate or low danger over the next seven days. However, wildfire season is not over and some Colorado counties will continue to experience high fire danger, according to Fox31.
Meanwhile, the heavy rains that prompted a lift of the statewide fire ban are also causing flooding worries in many fire-ravaged areas.
Near the High Park Fire burn area, mudslides have closed Highway 14 in both directions approximately six miles west of Ted's Place, on Monday. Mudslides had closed the highway on Friday as well.
The 6,000 acres scorched by the 2010 Fourmile Fire in Boulder County was on its fourth consecutive day of flood watch on Sunday, according to The Daily Camera.
Authorities have been keeping a close watch on the Waldo Canyon Fire burn area as heavy rains caused flooding east of the burn scar in Cottonwood Creek on Sunday. As of Monday morning, flooding in the burn area had not been reported.
Read Hickenlooper's full executive order here.
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