Hot, Dry Conditions Worry Colorado

Gov. Bill Owens has called for a ban on open fires and fireworks on all state property.

The hot and dry conditions, along with the numerous fires burning across the state of Colorado, have triggered firefighters and the governor to call for preventative measures. Owens is asking local governments to implement the same bans on fireworks and open fires.

"The conditions, in fact, across Colorado are bad," said Owens. "Colorado hasn't been this prone to fire danger since the summer of 2002."

The summer of the Haymen Fire was the worst in Colorado history. Owens said the state is better prepared to respond and right now, the higher elevations are not quite as vulnerable. The moisture content in the mountains is slightly higher.

"I'm hoping that the more tourist-oriented areas of Colorado -- the mountains, the Aspens, the Vails and the Tellurides -- are not going to have the horrible forest fires we had back in 2002," Owens said.

There has been little relief to those living on the eastern plains of Colorado. As much as 50 percent of the state's wheat and alfalfa crops may be lost. The short-term weather forecast does not promise much rain.

"The first or second week of July we may see the Southern monsoon flow come through," said Larry Helmrick of the fire coordination center. "We can only hope it does, because we definitely need it."

People have started more than half of the fires in Colorado. After the fires of 2002, the Legislature stiffened the penalties for those who start wildfires.

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