Updated July 18, 2011 at 5:41 p.m.
Steamboat Springs The monsoonal flow that continues to bring afternoon showers and thunderstorms to Routt County also is keeping the area’s fire danger moderate to low.
Lynn Barclay, a fire mitigation specialist for the Bureau of Land Management in Northwest Colorado, said Monday that an abundance of overnight humidity is helping to prevent wildfires and that reports of fires have been low this month.
“Because of our current weather patterns, we’ve experienced quite fewer wildfire calls in Routt and Moffat (counties) so far this season,” she said.
But she said that once the monsoon season is over, vegetation will begin to dry and that the county will be at a higher risk of wildfires. She said that the abundance of rainfall can be a mixed blessing because it creates more vegetation that later can become fuel for fires.
Although there are no wildfires reported in Routt County, recent thunderstorms have proven to have the potential to start fires in Northwest Colorado.
The Bureau of Land Management was monitoring three small wildfires in remote areas of Eagle County on Monday that were caused by lightning strikes Sunday night.
David Boyd, a fire information officer with the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management unit, said one of the fires was burning two miles from the Routt County border on federal land near Pisgah Mountain southwest of McCoy. He said the fire was generating smoke that was visible from Colorado Highway 131.
Boyd said the fire, which was estimated to have burned about one-tenth of an acre Monday afternoon, was not threatening any structures and did not need to be suppressed by firefighters because it wasn’t growing.
“Because the fires are so remote and aren’t threatening anything, it makes more sense ecologically to monitor the fires and not risk the safety of firefighters,” he said. “We want the fires to be able to do their natural job of benefiting the forest where we can.”
He said that BLM officials were continuing to monitor the fires Monday afternoon and that it wasn’t likely the fires would need to be put out by firefighters. The other reported fires were on BLM land near Castle Peak north of Eagle.
Barclay said people who are camping should continue to be vigilant about fire danger, especially in areas with trees killed by pine beetles.