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Colorado officials warn 2022 could be worst wildfire year in state history

Additional $20 million in funding will help prepare state in its firefighting efforts, officials said during presentation on wildfire outlook

Olivia Prentzel
The Colorado Sun

Colorado will pour an additional $20 million in federal funding into firefighting and prevention initiatives ahead of what officials say could be the worst wildfire season in the state’s history.

Above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation are predicted across the state through June, thrusting many parts of Colorado into more severe drought conditions and placing more of the state at risk, officials said during a presentation Friday on this year’s wildfire outlook.

Monsoonal moisture could bring reprieve to the Western Slope in June, but current forecasts predict extreme drought conditions for the Front Range through July, Mike Morgan, director of Colorado’s Division of Fire Prevention and Control said.



Ahead of what could be a devastating wildfire season, Colorado’s strategy to fight fires involves early detection and aggressive initial attack, Morgan said. The funding will help the state grow its firefighting fleet for the 2022 wildfire season and implement a statewide dispatch center.

Last year, 6,679 reported fires burned a total of 56,056 acres — marking an uptick from the average 5,507 fires reported per year in Colorado, Morgan said.




The state is expected to experience up to a fivefold increase in acres burned by wildfires by 2050, according to the Division of Fire Prevention and Control’s 2022 Wildfire Preparedness Plan.

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