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Dry Conditions In Western Colorado Have Crews Preparing For Wildfires

By Matt Kroschel

RIFLE, Colo. (CBS4) - Firefighters on the ground and in the air are all working together on Colorado's Western Slope as they prepare for what could be a very busy firefighting season.

"Twenty eight wildfires already ignited during this early season. That represents about three times the amount of starts we've had from this same one last year," Deputy Unit Fire Manager Josh Tibbetts told CBS4.

firefighting plane (2)
(credit: CBS)

It takes hundreds of firefighters working together from local state and federal departments to combat wildfire in a massive part of the state that stretches from the Utah state line to the Continental Divide along the Interstate 70 corridor.

(credit: CBS)

On Tuesday, representatives from the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire and Aviation Unit (UCR) and partners for the 2017 wildfire season in western Colorado met with media members to talk about what they expect on the Western Slope this summer.

"It certainly has dried out a lot, those 90 degree temperatures really start to dry things considerably," Tibbetts said.

firefighting plane (1)
(credit: CBS)

Those are perfect conditions for a major wildfire to ignite. And an army of men and women are making final preparations for if one does.

Firefighters also tell CBS4 the vast majority of the fires stated in the area have been human-triggered.

Wildfire Resources

- Visit's Living With Wildfire section.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

- See images from the most destructive wildfires (Black Forest, Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile), the deadliest (Storm King) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.

Matt Kroschel covers news throughout Colorado working from the
CBS4 Mountain Newsroom. Send story ideas to and connect with him on Twitter @Matt_Kroschel.


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