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Cameron Peak Fire area out of drought conditions during snowy spring

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Posted at 2:23 PM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 16:23:29-04

DENVER — Colorado's snowy spring hasn't solved the state's drought issues overnight. But one positive update came down Thursday from the latest U.S. Drought Monitor: A small area in Colorado has no dry conditions, not even the less-than-drought designation of "abnormally dry."

And it's not just any area of the state. It's a good chunk of Larimer County where the Cameron Peak Fire burned for months last summer and fall.

Heavy snow over the last month has helped improve conditions in the area, and across Colorado. Areas of the Front Range received up to 10 inches of snow last week and more this week.

This doesn't mean Colorado is off the hook for another season of wildfires.

Colorado should expect another year of intense wildfires in 2021 due to widespread drought conditions that could worsen through the summer, according to the annual forecast released last week by the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.

In last week's announcement and interviews over the past month, Division of Fire Prevention and Control officials have pointed to climate change, forest management, increasing drought conditions and a growing population in Colorado as reasons they believe that years like 2020 could become more of the standard for fire behavior.

Denver and much of the Interstate 25 corridor are under abnormally dry conditions, with moderate and severe drought conditions across the the eastern plains and southern Colorado. The worst drought conditions remain on the Western Slope, where extreme and exceptional drought conditions persist.

Colorado's lagging snowpack remains below its median average, at 75% of normal, though it did get a boost the last two months. The Front Range has been the main beneficiary of Colorado's snowy spring, with the Denver area and the foothills snowpack at 100% of normal. Southwest Colorado is only 60% of normal, and the Western Slope along Interstate 70 is at 77% of normal.

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