Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Denver/Boulder, CO

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PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND JUNCTION CO
430 PM MDT SAT JUNE 28 2014

...LIGHTNING AND WILDFIRES...

COLORADO LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK CONCLUDES TODAY...WITH
WILDFIRES BEING THE FINAL TOPIC. DURING THE PAST WEEK WE HAVE
PRESENTED LIGHTNING INFORMATION AND SAFETY RULES. ALTHOUGH
WILDFIRES ARE NOT AN ACTUAL WEATHER PHENOMENON...WILDFIRES ARE
DIRECTLY RELATED TO LIGHTNING AND OTHER WEATHER ELEMENTS.

NORMALLY...THE WILDFIRE THREAT IN COLORADO INCREASES SIGNIFICANTLY
AFTER THE MIDDLE OF JUNE AND USUALLY PEAKS IN EARLY JULY...AND
REMAINS HIGH THROUGH AUGUST AND EARLY SEPTEMBER. COLORADO AVERAGES
ABOUT 2500 WILDFIRES EACH YEAR.

ABOUT HALF OF ALL FOREST FIRES IN COLORADO ARE IGNITED BY
LIGHTNING. ADDITIONALLY...MANY RANGELAND AND WHEATFIELD FIRES
ARE CAUSED BY LIGHTNING. MANY OF THESE LIGHTNING CAUSED WILDFIRES
OCCUR IN THE ABSENCE OF RAIN AND ARE THE RESULT OF WHAT IS
REFERRED TO AS DRY THUNDERSTORMS.

LIGHTNING IS OFTEN ACCOMPANIED BY STRONG WINDS FROM THUNDERSTORMS.
THESE WINDS CAN QUICKLY TURN SMOLDERING ORGANIC MATERIAL INTO A
RAGING FIRE. THUNDERSTORM WINDS TEND TO BE ERRATIC IN DIRECTION
AND SPEED...POSING ONE OF THE GREATEST DANGERS FOR FIREFIGHTERS.

LIGHTNING THAT STRIKES THE GROUND IS USUALLY DIVIDED INTO TWO
CATEGORIES... NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE STRIKES...DEPENDING ON THE
IONIC SOURCE REGION OF THE THUNDERSTORM. THE NEGATIVE STRIKES ARE
FAR MORE COMMON THAN POSITIVE STRIKES. THE POSITIVE STRIKES ARE
MORE INTENSE AND HAVE A LONGER DURATION THAN THE NEGATIVE STRIKES
AND ARE MORE LIKELY TO IGNITE A FIRE. LIGHTNING DETECTION
TECHNOLOGY PROVIDES LAND MANAGERS AND WEATHER FORECASTERS WITH THE
ABILITY TO IDENTIFY THE GENERAL LOCATION AND CHARGE CATEGORY OF
EACH LIGHTNING STRIKE.

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECASTERS HELP LAND MANAGERS AND
FIREFIGHTERS BY PRODUCING FIRE WEATHER ZONE FORECASTS ON A DAILY
BASIS. SPOT FIRE WEATHER FORECASTS ARE ALSO PROVIDED FOR THOSE WHO
WORK ON PRESCRIBED BURNS OR SPECIFIC WILDFIRES. FORECASTERS ALSO
ISSUE RED FLAG WARNINGS FOR USE BY LAND MANAGERS WHEN THE
COMBINATION OF DRY VEGETATION AND CRITICAL WEATHER CONDITIONS WILL
RESULT IN A HIGH POTENTIAL FOR THE DEVELOPMENT AND SPREAD OF
WILDFIRES. LAND MANAGERS...IN TURN...TYPICALLY INFORM THE GENERAL
PUBLIC OF THE FIRE DANGER IN NATIONAL PARKS...FORESTS...AND OTHER
PUBLIC LANDS.

DURING PERIODS OF EXTREME FIRE DANGER IN FORESTS AND RANGELANDS...

...YOU SHOULD AVOID BEING IN AREAS WHERE YOU MIGHT BECOME TRAPPED
BY A WILDFIRE.

...YOU SHOULD AVOID THE USE OF MATCHES OR ANYTHING ELSE WHICH
COULD IGNITE A FIRE.

...MAKE SURE THAT HOT PARTS OF MOTORIZED EQUIPMENT...SUCH AS
MUFFLERS... ARE NOT ALLOWED TO COME IN CONTACT WITH DRY GRASSES
OR OTHER POTENTIALLY FLAMMABLE MATERIAL.

IF YOU BECOME TRAPPED OR CUT OFF BY A WILDFIRE...SEEK SHELTER IN
AREAS WITH LITTLE OR NO FUEL...SUCH AS ROCK SLIDE AREAS OR
LAKES.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WILDFIRES AND FIRE SAFETY...PLEASE CHECK
OUT THE FOLLOWING WEB ADDRESSES...

        HTTP://WEATHER.GOV/FIRE ...USING LOWER CASE...

        HTTP://WWW.NIFC.GOV

        HTTP://CSFS.COLOSTATE.EDU/

$$

JIM PRINGLE
WARNING COORDINATION METEOROLOGIST
WFO GRAND JUNCTION CO


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