Steamboat’s fire risk moderate for Fourth of July weekend |

Steamboat’s fire risk moderate for Fourth of July weekend

Zach Fridell

— The fire danger for Routt County heading into the Fourth of July weekend isn't as high as other parts of the state, but fire officials say that's no reason to avoid being careful.

Routt County's fire danger remains relatively low thanks to cooler nights that are driving up the humidity in the region. A wet spring also has created lush, green foliage that has not dried out.

Steamboat Springs Fire Chief Ron Lindroth said he's keeping an eye on the indicators around the area, including cheatgrass.

"What I'm seeing right now is I would say we're still in the moderate range" of fire danger, he said.

When the cheatgrass turns from green to brown, it's a good indication of increasing fire danger, he said. Lindroth said some of the cheatgrass was starting to turn brown on Emerald Mountain but that the danger likely won't increase at least until after the Fourth of July weekend.

"I think the key is that live fuel moistures are doing well right now," he said.

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Routt County Emergency Management Director Bob Struble agrees that the risk isn't very high this week but warned that even live fuels — green grasses and shrubs — can present a fire risk. That was evident in the June 21 fire on Routt County Road 68 in Canyon Valley.

That fire, started by a cigarette and contained at about 5 acres, was mostly in green shrubs and grasses that burned slowly.

Lindroth said he plans to double staff his fire stations throughout the weekend, with an extra fire engine and brush truck ready in case of fires.

Other parts of the state are reporting higher fire risks, with several fires burning throughout the state.