Fire teams prep to fight from ground, air in SW Colorado | KOB 4
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Fire teams prep to fight from ground, air in SW Colorado

Meg Hilling
May 01, 2018 06:41 PM

DURANGO, Colo. – Fire teams and the San Juan National Forest are gearing up for a long, dry summer in southwest Colorado. Drought monitors show the region to be suffering from "exceptional drought" conditions.

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"Fire is 365 days a year now in the United States. There is no such thing as fire season. It's just fire," Jerran Flinders with the U.S. Forest Service said.

As drought conditions worsen, there are more restrictions and precautions coming into play. One example would be no more agriculture burns in La Plata County. According to officials, the conditions are close to those during the Missionary Ridge Fire of 2002.

"That 2002 is our baseline for our zone, meaning that is the worst year we have recorded. And we are trending right along that," Forest Fire Management Officer Richard Bustamanti said.

At the Durango Air Tanker Base, crews are keeping a single-engine plane ready for takeoff. It's able to carry 800 gallons of fire retardant, which is a combination of water and fertilizer.

"This base's location has proved to be a great spot. We can rapidly deploy multiple assets to multiple incidents and with quick turnaround times be extremely effective," Flinders said.

So what can you do to help lower fire risks? For starters, don't ever leave your car idling outside when conditions are dry. It could cause a spark. Only make bonfires in designated areas, and be incredibly careful when using anything flammable like matches or lighters.

Credits

Meg Hilling

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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