Good Colo. Snowpack Means Above Average Wildfire Danger

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Denver (AP) Snow storms in late 2006 and early 2007 that paralyzed Colorado's eastern plains are now contributing to what could be an above-average fire season.

Forecasters with the Rocky Mountain area predictive services say tall stalks of grasses that grew with the extra moisture from those storms are now dead across thousands of acres from Colorado's foothills to western Kansas and Nebraska.

Those grasses die and are normally replaced by new grass, but cold, dry weather this year has prevented the annual “green-up” and left the dead stalks towering over the new grass.

Forecasters say the danger will remain high between May and August -- and may lessen when late summer wet patterns called monsoons move into the area.

A La Nina weather pattern through the summer is expected to bring dry, windy weather across most of the forecast area that covers Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming. That could increase the fire danger for late summer.