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Colorado, Saguache County West of Continental Divide Below 10000 Ft

Public Information Statement

Statement as of 6:00 AM MDT on June 25, 2016

Colorado lightning safety awareness week concludes today... with
wildfires being the final topic.

During the past week we have presented lightning information and
safety rules. Although wildfires are not an actual weather
phenomenon... wildfires are directly related to lightning and other
weather elements.

Normally... the wildfire threat in Colorado increases significantly
after the middle of June and usually peaks in early July... and
remains high through August and early September. Colorado averages
about 2500 wildfires each year.

About half of all Forest fires in Colorado are ignited by lightning.
Additionally... many rangeland and wheat field fires are caused by
lightning. Many of these lightning caused wildfires occur in the
absence of rain and are the result of what is referred to as dry

Lightning is often accompanied by strong winds from thunderstorms.
These winds can quickly turn smoldering organic material into a
raging fire. Thunderstorm winds tend to be erratic in direction and
speed... posing one of the greatest dangers for firefighters.

Lightning that strikes the ground is usually divided into two
categories... negative and positive strikes... depending on the ionic
source region of the thunderstorm. The negative strikes are far
more common than positive strikes. The positive strikes are more
intense and have a longer duration than the negative strikes and are
more likely to ignite a fire. Lightning detection technology
provides land managers and weather forecasters with the ability to
identify the general location and charge category of each lightning

National Weather Service forecasters help land managers and
firefighters by producing fire weather zone forecasts on a daily
basis. Spot fire weather forecasts are also provided for those who
work on prescribed Burns or specific wildfires. Forecasters also
issue red flag warnings for use by land managers when the
combination of dry vegetation and critical weather conditions will
result in a high potential for the development and spread of
wildfires. Land managers... in turn... typically inform the general
public of the fire danger in National Parks... forests... and other
public lands.

During periods of extreme fire danger in forests and rangelands...

You should avoid being in areas where you might become trapped by a

You should avoid the use of matches or anything else which could
ignite a fire.

Make sure that hot parts of motorized equipment... such as
mufflers... are not allowed to come in contact with dry grasses or
other potentially flammable material.

If you become trapped or cut off by a wildfire... seek shelter in
areas with little or no fuel... such as Rock Slide areas or lakes.

For more information on wildfires and fire safety... please check out
the following web addresses...





Steve hodanish
senior forecaster
NWS Pueblo, co

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