One-third of Colorado is now in a severe drought |

One-third of Colorado is now in a severe drought

58 out of 64 counties are experiencing drier than normal conditions and that could mean wildfire trouble and result in crop losses

Lauren Irwin
The Colorado Sun
The Roaring Fork River (left) empties into the Colorado River in downtown Glenwood Springs. Streamflows at this location are expected to be 85% of normal for the month of April.
Heather Sackett/Aspen Journalism

Drought conditions are setting in across most of Colorado, and that has top state officials worried about wildfire, crop losses and water restrictions.

Nearly 83% of Colorado is experiencing abnormally dry conditions and 33% is reporting extreme or severe drought, as of Tuesday, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported, up slightly from the week before.

A year ago, none of the state was experiencing drought conditions.

The driest conditions are in the southern plains and in southwest Colorado, where wind-driven wildfires are burning in four locations.

“What makes or breaks a fire season is ignition and wind,” Tim Mathewson, a meteorologist at the Bureau of Land Management said. “This year, we have had some hellacious wind events.”

The abnormally dry conditions also have implications for farmers and ranchers and so Gov. Jared Polis has activated the state Drought Task Force. The panel, made up of the departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources, Local Affairs, Public Safety and the Colorado Water Conservation Board, will assess the potential damage to Colorado’s $8 billion agricultural economy. 

Read more on this story via The Colorado Sun

The Colorado Sun is a reader-supported news organization dedicated to covering the people, places and policies that matter in Colorado. Read more, sign up for free newsletters and subscribe at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.