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Fire danger is high in some areas, low in others

By Jay Polk , Weekend Meteorologist/Reporter, jay.polk@krdo.com
Published On: Jun 02 2014 08:03:45 PM CDT

The rain and snow in May means low fire danger in Colorado Springs, but it's much higher in other areas that have seen less of the wet and white stuff.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Lynnette Canter was enjoying her time at America the Beautiful Park on Monday, but Saturday she was on Garden of the Gods Road when she heard a very loud noise.

"All of a sudden there was something beating on my window and my roof," she said.

Karen Allen was at Bear Creek Regional Park.

"You could see for miles and the wind was picking up and it was fairly obvious that it was going to be bad," she said.

What she saw was a massive storm that dropped hail and flooded roads around the city.  But only 60 miles to the south, a wildfire was burning in Beulah.

Southern Colorado has turned into two areas when it comes to rainfall.  In May, Colorado Springs picked up more than two and a half inches of rain and snow.  But Pueblo only saw two-thirds of an inch and Alamosa saw less than a quarter of an inch.

That's good news for the Pike National Forest.

Dawn Sanchez is a fire prevention technician for the U.S. Forest Service.  She said, "grasses and some of the smaller dead sticks have definitely changed and they're absorbing a lot of the moisture."

But even though Colorado Springs has seen plenty of rain and snow, it only takes a few days in the dry Southern Colorado climate to turn a moist field into a tinderbox.

That's the case in the southeastern plains and the southern mountains, which are still suffering from drought.

That means that vigilance is still important.

People should, "really pay attention to what they're doing in the forest," said Sanchez.

While hail is no fun to go through, for the people we talked to, it beats the alternative.

"I will take thunderstorms and hail over fire any day," said Canter.

If the rains keep falling at their current rate, we'll see plenty of green this summer instead of smoke and fire.

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