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Mother's Day snow had some benefits

Published On: May 12 2014 07:15:55 PM CDT

The snow that fell yesterday ruined picnics but is helping to reduce the fire danger around the area.

Colorado Springs, COLO -

Parts of Teller County have picked up a foot of snow since Sunday.  Snow in May didn't make everyone happy, but Amy Sylvester, a wildfire mitigation specialist with the Colorado Springs Fire Department, had a different take on it than most of us.

"I loved it," she said.

There's one thing about a spring snow that makes it a little more tolerable, it's wet.

"This type of wetting snow, with precipitation that stays on the ground for a longer period of time is really what we need for fuel moisture," said Sylvester.

The snow may have ruined your Mother's Day picnic, but figuring out how high the fire danger is is probably not part of your job description like it is for Sylvester.

"We collect ten different samples from pine needles, to leaves to grasses," said Sylvester.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department measures the fire danger at least once every two weeks.  All of the samples are coming up wet right now, but that won't last forever.

In the dry Southern Colorado climate, it won't take long for today's wet tree trunks to become tomorrow's fire tinder.

How fast the moisture goes away depends on whether you're talking about a tree branch or a pine needle.

"The longer it takes to lose the moisture, the longer it does take to recover if we do have periods of drought," said Sylvester.

Whether the next few months offers rain, drought or more snow, the bottom line remains the same.

To reduce the chances that wildfires will happen again, "we just want people to maintain vigilance this season," said Sylvester.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department measures fire danger at least once every two weeks, more often during the fire season.

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