With temperatures more than 100 degrees this week on the Western Slope, crews at the Interagency Fire Center Air Tanker Base are turning their eyes to the sky. The wildfire season locally has gotten off to a slow start this year. Only two major fires are burning west of the Continental Divide and both are being allowed to burn to improve the health of the areas.
The high temperatures of recent weeks combined with low humidity and gusty winds has fire managers on edge. The air base at Walker Field is being fortified with extra equipment.
Currently, there are 19 smoke jumpers on duty, along with four single–engine air tankers, two lead planes, and a medium–capacity helicopter.
Firefighters say under these conditions the tiniest spark could create a problem. Half of the smokejumpers on duty at Walker Field are due to leave Wednesday as part of a normal rotation of duty.
The National Weather Service is predicting temperature near 100 degrees for the next 7 days.
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