Five counties plan for wildfires in wake of dry weather

Five counties plan for wildfires in wake of dry weather

PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. - Dry, overgrown brush makes up most of the landscape right now in Pueblo County. It's a wildfire just waiting to happen.

Unlike the Junkins and Beulah Hill fires in the mountains of Pueblo County in 2016,  the Carson Midway fire was in the prairie.

Bill Line is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service and said it has been abnormally dry this winter and fires can happen anywhere.

"We are expecting an active wildfire season. So in the National Weather Service office, we are prepared to take on those duties," Line said.

Preparing for the worst was the point of Thursday's meeting that brought together experts from five different counties and agencies.

Dennis Page with the U.S. Forest Service said it's a challenge to come up with issues they can solve before a fire starts.
"We can have those discussions on whether it's improving the resiliency of the forest, that fire response or trying to protect those values including the communities," Page said.

One issue they can work on solving ahead of time is communication,  like the breakdown that Pueblo County Bureau Chief Mark Mears said happened when Pueblo County couldn't communicate with El Paso County during the Carson Midway fire.
"How do we communicate as a region? How do we communicate outside of Pueblo County and the other counties? So it's important to take all those lessons learned from the Carson Midway fire and apply them to the next fire," Mears said.

Hopefully, with communication and preparedness, this fire season will be uneventful for all.

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