A winter storm may soon be a natural fire hydrant to Colorado’s East Troublesome Fire

Despite red flag weather warnings, officials battling the Colorado East Troublesome Fire said conditions are improving to bring the blaze under control.

“We’ve had a very good, very good day on the fire, very active suppression day,” Incident Commander Noel Livingston said during a Saturday press conference.

Livingston said that it was a good but busy day given the red flag warning weather forecast that included high winds, a cold front and low humidity. The winter storm warning added a challenge to the already rough weather forecast, something Livingston said was “unique” in his career.

More than 30 million people in the west are under red flag warnings as hot, dry, windy conditions fuel fires already roaring in Colorado and California. Pacific Gas and Electric in Northern California is planning to shut power off to nearly 400,000 customers to prevent further sparks due to the extreme weather still in the forecast.

In Colorado, the early season winter storm is expected to bring snow that Trevor Denny, field services manager from the Office of Emergency Management, said could “certainly bring up the humidity, dampen any fire spread.”

The storm is poised to “be a huge help” to current fire conditions in the state of Colorado, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

“Fire conditions will finally see a reprieve as winds decrease and moisture increases with snow moving in,” said NWS Denver on Saturday. The near-record cold temperatures are expected to raise relative humidity levels.

The higher humidity along with the heavy snowfall should act as a natural fire hydrant said CNN Weather’s Tyler Mauldin.

Despite the more positive weather outlook, fire officials say there are still some places facing a threat from the fire, including the Estes Park area.

So far, the East Troublesome Fire has burned more than 190,000 acres, adding roughly 10,000 acres on Saturday, and is between 4% and 5% contained said Livingston who also noted that this number is expected to go up on Sunday after the winter storm passes.

At least two other record-breaking fires are still burning in Colorado. The Cameron Peak Fire, currently the largest wildfire in the state’s history, is 207,464 acres and 60% contained. The Calwood Fire that destroyed nearly 30 homes and is the biggest wildfire in Boulder County history according to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office is 10,095 acres and 76% contained.


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