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After counties lift fire restrictions, fall forecast is warmer and drier than usual across the state

View of the East Troublesome Fire looking north from Cottonwood Pass on Wednesday evening, Oct. 21.
Andrew Lussie
View of the East Troublesome Fire looking north from Cottonwood Pass in October, two years ago. Fall fires are not unusual in Colorado.

In its latest long-term outlook the federal government's Climate Prediction Center expects hotter-than-average temperatures and lower-than-average precipitation from September to November.

This forecast follows wet summer weather; drought conditions have improved in parts of the state. Some areas, like Summit County and parts of Boulder County, have gone as far as lifting fire restrictions this summer.

“This decision was made after careful review of current fuel moisture conditions, long-term forecasts, and fire activity,” wrote the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office in a press release earlier this month.

But, fire season in Colorado does not end with summer. The East Troublesome Fire destroyed more than 350 homes in Grand County in October 2020. During that same time, the Cameron Peak Fire was also burning and wasn’t contained until December. At the end of last year, the Marshall Fire, a disaster which incurred hundreds of millions of dollars in losses, destroyed over 1,000 homes in Boulder County.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect the correct data source for the long-term forecast, the Climate Prediction Center.

As KUNC's Senior Editor and Reporter, my job is to find out what’s important to northern Colorado residents and why. I seek to create a deeper sense of urgency and understanding around these issues through in-depth, character driven daily reporting and series work.
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