Wildfire season outlook positive for Western Slope

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Wildfires in California and Arizona have firefighting crews preparing for the worst here in Colorado, but local weather forecasters said we should see less fires here than in the past few years.

"Right now we're optimistic that all but Southwest Colorado probably will have a year that shouldn't be too horrible," said Joe Ramey, a forecaster for the National Weather Service.

A solid snowpack and a rainy Spring will help keep conditions from getting too dry when it starts to heat up in the Grand Valley.

Plus, the National Weather Service is predicting more wet weather than usual this summer into the early fall.

"We're thinking that July, August, especially into September that we'll be seeing more moisture coming in from the south than we typically do that time of year," Ramey said.

The Upper Colorado River Fire Management team has already started preparing for the wildfire season by filling up tanks with 10,000 gallons of flame retardant and finishing training for firefighters.

"We are in a desert climate here," said Chris Farinetti, UCR Fire Management officer. "Maybe it won't be as bad as 2012 we hope, but we will have fires here, so everyone has to be careful."

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