State Forest Service: 2.9 million Coloradans live in areas prone to wildfire | AspenTimes.com

State Forest Service: 2.9 million Coloradans live in areas prone to wildfire

The Associated Press

The Lake Christine Fire seen overnight July 4 from the Willits Town Center looking north across Highway 82 toward El Jebel.

DENVER — Forest managers say 2.9 million residents now live in areas at risk of wildfire in Colorado, up 45 percent over five years.

The State Forest Service released updated statistics Monday on the number of people who live in the wildland-urban interface, where homes are built near or within areas prone to wildland fire.

The last estimate, in 2013, said 2 million people lived in the wildland-urban interface.

The agency says three factors are behind the increase: More people moving into fire-prone areas, better data and changes in land use and vegetation patterns.

The new figures mean roughly half the state’s population lives in areas at risk of wildfire. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated Colorado’s population at 5.6 million last year but the state has been growing rapidly.

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