Apr 3, 2014 6:40 PM by Tony Spehar

Firefighters: Spring snow storm only temporarily reduces wildfire danger

PUEBLO - A spring snow storm brought a lot of much needed moisture to Southern Colorado on Thursday morning, but firefighters are warning that it might not do much to reduce the danger of fire and could potentially increase the risk.

Heavy, wet snow blanketed the area from Colorado Springs to Pueblo. Mike Marascola came home from work to find a layer of soggy snow covering his driveway, adding a little bit of work to his day as he cleared it off.

"Yeah it came on pretty quick, when I left work about four o'clock this morning there wasn't too much going on," Marascola described. "The roads were wet, seven o'clock it started coming down."

Though the snow was a little annoying, he said he appreciated the moisture it brought.

"It's melting as quick as it hits so this is a good one, we really needed this moisture," he said.

A nice spring storm packing a lot of wet snow or rain can certainly be beneficial, but firefighters warn that under the right circumstances the danger of fire can increase.

"It's good to have that right now," explained Capt. Richard Potter of the Pueblo Fire Department. "The long term effect with the additional moisture we've got is the growth that occurs."

With all the water now soaking into the ground plants such as grass could see a large amount of growth and could potentially dry-out quickly if the weather turns too warm too fast. The "one-hour fuels," named for how quickly their combustibility can change, can become dangerously dry surprisingly fast.

"It can change very quickly, it can change later today if the sun comes out and the wind comes up they can dry out very quickly," Capt. Potter described. "It could change tomorrow, the moisture's good but it's definitely not a long-term fix."

Potter advised everyone to remain vigilant about fire danger and do mitigation work around their homes and businesses before the fire season ramps-up.


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