COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - You keep hearing it over and over: the weather has been dry recently. But just how dry has it actually been?
The Waldo Canyon fire began on June 23, 2012 and has frequently been in the back of our minds with every new brush fire this year. We looked at moisture stats over the fall and winter leading up to Waldo, and then compared them to our numbers from this year.
Between August 1, 2011 and April 4, 2012, we saw 9.43 inches of liquid snow and rain. That same range between 2017 and 2018, we picked up 6.75 inches of liquid precipitation. That's more than 2.5 inches less than the moisture we had leading up to Waldo.
But what's a normal amount of moisture for those dates? The average over those three months is 7.75 inches. What's interesting is that we actually had more moisture between the months leading up to Waldo than we have had this year.
Higher moisture averages don't necessarily mean good things. You have to narrow it down even further and look at the winter months. Between December and February leading up to the Waldo Canyon Fire, we picked up 0.77 inches of liquid rain and snow. That's below average. This season, we have only seen 0.57 inches, which is even less.
It was those winter months that really helped to send both 2011-2012 and 2017-2018 into drought conditions. The 2012 drought map as of March 27 pictured moderate to severe drought across the state of Colorado. What does this year look like? Drought conditions are actually worse. They range from moderate to extreme and are more expansive.
It has already been a busy fire season so far, and people are concerned about what the coming months may bring. Going forward, it will be very important to take every red flag day seriously. Do fire mitigation work around your home and do your part to report smoke and fire.