COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo - This is time of year where hot weather raises concerns for fire dangers - and for good reason - the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires were both in the June/July time frame and are still fresh in our memories.
So far, 2016 hasn't brought the anxiety felt in years past. What's the difference? Moisture. Consistent late season snow, and springtime rains have "greened up" Southern Colorado, keeping the "fuels" for fires low.
"Fuels" are basically dried and dead grasses and trees that provide the burning materials for wildfires to start and feed upon.
In addition to summer heat, the other elements that contribute to elevated fire risks are low humidity values and gusty winds, both of which have been mostly absent so far this spring and summer.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provides a Drought Severity Index, and as of July 2, the entire state of Colorado ranged from "normal" to "extremely moist" which is great news from both a drought and a fire fighting perspective.
Of course, all of that can change quickly and we always need to be vigilant, but so far 2016 has allowed us to breathe easier, both literally and figuratively.
To see NOAA's Drought Severity Index, you can find it by clicking here.