Rain brings relief but concerns still smoulder on wildfire anniversary

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A.D. July 3 and 4 may not be the same for residents of Roaring Fork Valley after the 2018 events.

A.D. At the beginning of July 3, a fire broke out in Lake Christian. The next day, he was about to burn Basalt and pass by El Jebel.

Scott Thompson, chief of the Roering Fork Fire Department, said of the annual event: “I think most of us breathe deeply.



Due to the early onset of the rainy season, conditions will be significantly different this year. However, Thompson warned people not to be negligent in recent days due to heavy rains. A 90-degree day can change the situation.

“Are we out of the woods, burning? No, we are not. This is a good rest. ”- Valerie McDonald, Pitkin County Emergency Management Director

“I want people to understand that we are still living in a wildfire,” he said.



Four years ago, wildfires were already raging in the western United States, and smoke from the fire was still in the air. Dried plants in the valley turned brown and were crushed to the touch. “Hmmm, are we overcrowded?” Created a sense of belonging.

it was. The fire broke out in the Basalt region. On the night of July 3, a young man and a woman were illegally firing bullets. The grass and other plants were burning and the fire was extinguished and running.

The blaze burned 12,589 acres before it officially took place on October 9 and destroyed three homes on July 4.

This year, the valley will go on holiday weekend after receiving good water. Aspen-Pitkin County Airport received 0.54 inches of rain on Thursday and early Friday, and Basalt Mountain ranged between 0.42 and 0.65 inches. El Jebel collected two-thirds of an inch. Missouri Heights has been blessed by up to half an inch, according to Aspen Weather Networks.

The dark days have been wet for the past 10 days. Nevertheless, data from the Aspen Water Factory show that 0.71 inches of rain fell in June, down from an average of 1.21 inches. The water plant was basically dry in the first half of the month.

It predicts more rainfall in the coming weeks.

“The storm came 30 days earlier than the historic track,” said Patrick P.K., a firefighter at the Upper Colorado River Interaction Fire Department.

In addition, 2018 is much better than the last two years.

“Twelve months ago, we were in a terrible drought,” says Kiran.

In the latest U.S. Drought Monitoring Index, Pitkin County, Eagle County, and most of Garfield County are in “moderate drought,” at least in four stages.

This is the first in three years and the second in five years, with no fire restrictions on the fourth weekend of July, according to Pitkins County Emergency Management Director Valerie McDonald.

A helicopter follows a bucket of water and hits Christine Lake shortly after fire July 3, 2018 | Scott Condon / Aspen Times File
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“Are we out of the woods, burning? No, we are not. This is a great relief, ”said McDonald.

The average snow cover on the western slope helped provide good wind, despite hot winds and dry seasons. But rains since mid-June have helped reduce the risk of wildfires. Kiran is recovering from soil moisture and the moisture content in plants is high.

After two years of engagement, firefighters and resources are still at large, Kiran said.

McDonald’s public service agencies are enjoying the weather, but they are not considered sustainable.

“We are all on high alert,” she says.

Despite better conditions, people still need to be careful, says McDonald. This includes avoiding fireworks, setting camp fires correctly, and preventing trailers from pulling chains off the road and creating sparks. She says that people should be careful when smoking.

“We have a lot of people (visiting the valley). We still urge people to be on fire, ”said McDonald.

Behind her mind, she is thinking about 2019, when there are no fire limits. In February and March of that year, there was a mild snowstorm, which created a healthy layer of snow in the summer. But the drought during the year led to falling fire bans.

Despite the constant drought, the fires of Lake Christian did not leave much to be desired.

MacDonald said: “This is a clear memory in the minds of many people, but we have not seen any change in human behavior.

She urged people to go ahead with their evacuation plans and clear the area around their property.

sccondon@aspentimes.com



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