Wildfire Outlook: Colorado Expecting Average To Below-Average Season

Authorities predict the 2016 wildfire season will be far less active than the one three years prior, during which nearly 5,000 fires burned, including the East Peak Fire near Walsenburg (pictured).
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Firefighters expect another average or below-average wildfire season in Colorado in 2016, the third mild year in a row.

Gov. John Hickenlooper and state fire prevention director Paul Cooke announced the outlook Tuesday.

The prediction is based on computer models that use weather conditions and forecasts, history and other factors.

Colorado enters this season after a wet winter. About a quarter of the state is abnormally dry but not in a drought.

2014 and 2015 were comparatively easy for the state, after bad fire years in 2012 and 2013.

Colorado endured more than 4,900 fires on 348 square miles in 2013. They included the Black Forest fire northeast of Colorado Springs, which destroyed 488 homes and killed two people.

In 2012, more than 6,100 fires charred about 666 square miles.