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Old 01-06-2014, 06:56 PM
 
20,853 posts, read 39,090,718 times
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Let's use this as the Official Thread for all 2014 Colorado Fire Season Topics.

When the Winter Weather thread runs it's course, this thread will be made a sticky.

There's a 28-minute video on the Denver Post about our recent fire disasters in Colorado and the West.

The speakers make all the same points we've heard in our threads for some time from Jazzlover and others.
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:54 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,800,251 times
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It's too early to call what the 2014 fire season will be like, but the early part of the winter has been ominously dry in the southern part of Colorado and the long-term Climate Prediction Center forecast for the remainder of the winter is not optimistic. If the CPC forecast is correct, nearly all of Colorado will be back in drought by late spring. I've been around for a lot of winters, and this is the driest early winter that I can remember in parts of southern Colorado. We will need massive moisture from here on until late spring to a) make up for the dry early winter and b) even begin to make up the long-term water deficit in much of Colorado.

What I do know is this: if we have another dry winter in Colorado, the 2014 summer is primed to be an epic fire season. There are still millions of acres of dead and dying pine and spruce in Colorado forests that will be prime to burn if conditions are dry. They will be "looking" for an ignition source--either natural or man-made--and the odds of getting one will be high.
 
Old 01-07-2014, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Park County
20 posts, read 46,231 times
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The lack of southern winter moisture extends into California as well, been tracking the snow reports at various ski resorts...it's bleak! Flip side, the Coloradoan (Fort Collins paper) reported today the above average precip has Northern Colo coming out of drought status; with a huge chunk of the make-up coming from the September rains soil saturation, plus a pretty good snowfall start.
 
Old 01-07-2014, 11:30 AM
 
Location: SoCal
542 posts, read 1,257,204 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
What I do know is this: if we have another dry winter in Colorado, the 2014 summer is primed to be an epic fire season. There are still millions of acres of dead and dying pine and spruce in Colorado forests that will be prime to burn if conditions are dry. They will be "looking" for an ignition source--either natural or man-made--and the odds of getting one will be high.
Does CO allow people to go into the forest and cut down dead trees to use for firewood? I want to say I heard that CA used to allow that, but then the hippies made them stop taking them, and we had a subsequent rise in wildfires due to the dead, dry trees accumulating.

And from MTBamap (if anyone can point me to where to learn how to quote multiple people in one post, it would be appreciated!):
Quote:
The lack of southern winter moisture extends into California as well, been tracking the snow reports at various ski resorts...it's bleak!
Yup, I believe I just heard on the news here in CA that 2013 was our driest calendar year on record (though to be honest, it didn't feel out of the ordinary to me).
 
Old 01-07-2014, 11:32 AM
gn3
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
151 posts, read 368,819 times
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Jazz - I had just checked the snotel map the other day and it led me to believe that the snowpack so far is pretty normal (though I know we are in need of "catch up" moisture). What about this map is misleading me?

ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/CO/Sno...pdate_snow.pdf
 
Old 01-07-2014, 11:33 AM
 
20,853 posts, read 39,090,718 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galaxie Girl View Post
...(if anyone can point me to where to learn how to quote multiple people in one post, it would be appreciated! ):...
IIRC there's an FAQ page for that in the About the Forum forum.

Basically, do NOT click on the blue quote box ; instead, click on the small box and when you've done that for all the posts you want to quote, then the last step is to click on that blue quote box. Try it, I can undue or delete any messes.
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Last edited by Mike from back east; 01-07-2014 at 11:48 AM..
 
Old 01-07-2014, 12:06 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 6,025,648 times
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Wink Not exactly out of the woods

"Since 2002, Colorado has been in a constant drought flux, but never remaining completely drought-free for long. The 2002 drought lasted for three years, followed by drought again in 2006, and in 2012 and 2013, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor." [1]


The good news is that north-central Colorado is presently out of drought, with reservoirs full for the first time in years, in no small part thanks to the severe flooding in September which saw a year's worth of rain in a few days in some locations.

Whether it stays that way is another question. The spring snows of March and April will be decisive in that regard. But for now one might be hopeful. The heavy rains in September also came at a good time per soil moisture, as able to soak in and not evaporate, then frozen in place through winter.

With this, it might be remembered, important in a region which of late has experienced some of Colorado's most devastating wildfires.

Elsewhere, the picture is not as rosy. The large wildfire of 2013 near Wolf Creek Pass, that almost wiped out the town of South Fork, occurred in a region unusually dry for the last several years. And forecast to largely remain as much through the better part of winter, or end of March.[2]

At least in the San Luis Valley, there is only as much snow on the ground due one good storm before Thanksgiving, with temperatures consistently below freezing since having kept it largely in place. But a few relatively minor snow storms since.

It might be noted that the Rio Grande River is presently running dry at Las Cruces, NM. Farther upriver, snowpack at the headwaters is presently about 90% of normal. Farmers reliant upon this vital watershed expect more water and a better farming season than in 2013—if that not saying much. As with northern Colorado, and even more so, the extent and water content of spring snows will be decisive.

All of the West Coast is experiencing drought of one magnitude or another. NOAA seems to indicate that this will lesson in the Pacific Northwest as the season progresses. However at the moment the Cascade mountains of Washington and Oregon, and all the Sierra Nevada of California, have snowpacks well below normal. This in a region which customarily sees a LOT of snow in winter.

Certain pundits are presently having a field day with the uncommonly cold temperatures having descended across he better part of the United States, basically most east of Colorado. Thus citing this as proof, if any more was needed, that "climate change" is nothing but a hoax perpetrated by tree huggers and Nazi-esque environmentalists.

However, certain scientists who might know better, postulate that this uncommon Polar Vortex is likely due precisely because of our rapidly changing climate. That the melting ice sheet up north has caused fluctuations allowing the air to be trapped in place and inordinately cooled, and then this collapse to push the jet stream out of its normal path to descend broadly south.

Colorado has only just been touched by the edge of this, with Denver strangely balmy in comparison to such locals as Atlanta, GA. What we have not escaped—nor anyone else in the world so—is the broader and far more lasting effect of what we have done. These present unfortunate droughts, and at times resultant wildfires, are but a reminder of that most unfortunate direction.


1) 'Drought relief: Flood's slim silver lining,' The Coloradoan
http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20...-silver-lining

2) 'U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook,' NOAA
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/product...on_drought.png
 
Old 01-07-2014, 01:14 PM
 
Location: SoCal
542 posts, read 1,257,204 times
Reputation: 749
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
IIRC there's an FAQ page for that in the About the Forum forum.

Basically, do NOT click on the blue quote box ; instead, click on the small box and when you've done that for all the posts you want to quote, then the last step is to click on that blue quote box. Try it, I can undue or delete any messes.
Yea, it worked! Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Idunn View Post
Certain pundits are presently having a field day with the uncommonly cold temperatures having descended across he better part of the United States, basically most east of Colorado. Thus citing this as proof, if any more was needed, that "climate change" is nothing but a hoax perpetrated by tree huggers and Nazi-esque environmentalists.

However, certain scientists who might know better, postulate that this uncommon Polar Vortex is likely due precisely because of our rapidly changing climate. That the melting ice sheet up north has caused fluctuations allowing the air to be trapped in place and inordinately cooled, and then this collapse to push the jet stream out of its normal path to descend broadly south.

Colorado has only just been touched by the edge of this, with Denver strangely balmy in comparison to such locals as Atlanta, GA. What we have not escaped—nor anyone else in the world so—is the broader and far more lasting effect of what we have done. These present unfortunate droughts, and at times resultant wildfires, are but a reminder of that most unfortunate direction.
Not to turn this into yet another Global Warming/Climate Change debate, but you can't have it both ways. You (people in general, not you personally) can't claim that everything that is different from average must be due to man-made climate change; I think you'd recognize that that's absurd, we must have fluctuations in our weather. For all the talk of losing ice, Antarctica is currently setting records for how much ice there is:

NASA Announces New Record Growth Of Antarctic Sea Ice Extent | Watts Up With That?

Furthermore, droughts, hurricanes, and wet vs dry winters often come in groups (by that, I mean they happen for several years in a row). Saw a fascinating documentary about the Dust Bowl which discussed the drought they experienced for several years, causing all their heartache in the 1930s since they had no irrigation for their farmland they'd turned over. New Orleans (of Hurricane Katrina fame) had a devastating hurricane in the 1930s (side note - back then, they had to pretty much take care of themselves, except that the US military gave them some equipment that New Orleans then had to pay them back for; far cry from the more recent entitlement mentality we observed after Katrina). Just a few years ago, I heard about some discovery of human remains (1000+ years old, based on the artifacts) in the mountains of Europe after some ice that had never melted, finally melted and revealed it (so clearly that ice wasn't there, and people survived just fine). Saw another documentary about how parts of parched northern Africa have actually been fertile farmland periodically in the past (changes back and forth over the millennia). Great Britain has gone back and forth repeatedly between being able to grow grapes for wine, and not. In the 1970s, all the scientists claimed we were going into massive global cooling due to our pollution. In short, earth's temperature fluctuates, due to numerous outside causes (sun, anyone?). Perhaps we need to stop thinking the world revolves around us, and realize that we, as humans, are much less significant to this planet than we may like to admit.
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