Fire crews on standby as strong gusts of wind and high fire danger are expected across Colorado – CBS Denver


BOULDER, Colorado (CBS4)– Fire crews across the state are on heightened alert with high winds expected across much of Colorado in the coming days. Since it seems that Mother Nature is giving firefighters no respite, they are all asking us to be even more careful.

(credit: CBS)

” We are tired. I’m tired,” said Erin Doyle, wilderness operations specialist at Boulder Fire Rescue.

Between the recent NCAR Fire rating and Debra, Marshall Fire, first responders like Doyle are understandably exhausted.

“Knowing that I have to be here 24/7 for the next few days while this wind event is happening is definitely exhausting for me and my crew,” he told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann.

Doyle explained that Boulder fire crews check forecasts every day, often speaking directly to National Weather Service meteorologists. With extremely windy conditions blowing over Boulder, there are concerns about what might happen next.

RELATED: Weather in Denver: Very strong wind and high fire danger expected Tuesday

“Any spark that lands in a receptive fuel bed like grasses can take off very quickly,” Doyle said. “And as we’ve seen recently, fire can move instantly across the landscape.”

(credit: CBS)

Monday evening and Tuesday, wind gusts as strong as 80 mph are expected. This is why BFR is preparing for many emergency calls.

“So that prompted us to increase our numbers across the city to respond to the wildfires,” Doyle said. “If a tree is felled and hits a power line, those power lines have the potential to start a fire. Those are the kinds of calls we really anticipate.

In high wind conditions combined with low humidity, it doesn’t take much to ignite a flame. Even things you might not think about could trigger disaster.

“Things like even mowing your lawn and hitting a rock can cause a spark that can eventually start a fire,” Doyle said.

This is an important reminder for all of us to take extra precautions, not only to reduce the risk of fire, but also to help those who have already given so much to keep us safe.

“We’ve been through a lot and it would be nice to have a break,” Doyle said.

(credit: CBS)

A small break can be seen as spring arrives. The trees are starting to flower and the grasses are not as brown – a “green” as Doyle explained – indicating the growth of new plants and the potential reduction in fire danger. Yet fires can happen at any time and we all need to stay alert.

Additional information from Xcel Energy:

Xcel Energy has increased its workforce and put operational plans in place to ensure that key employees, including line workers, are available and able to respond to outages that may arise due to the wind moving through the Status this week.

We understand that loss of electricity can be a major inconvenience to customers, so we plan and prepare for weather conditions that can cause outages. Xcel Energy teams are ready to quickly and safely restore electrical service to customers.

Report your fault

Customers can help Xcel Energy speed up power restoration by reporting outages. Customers have several ways to report outages.

  • Online at xcelenergy.com/out
  • Text “OUT” to 98936 to report an outage or text STAT to the same number to check the status of a power outage.
  • Call 1-800-895-1999 and follow the prompts: the automated telephone reporting system allows customers to report outages in less than 60 seconds. Once the cause of the problem has been identified, the system or an Xcel Energy representative will provide customers with a recovery time estimate.

Stay informed

In the event of an outage, it is important that customers have access to the most recent updates regarding their power restoration. Customers can stay informed by visiting the Xcel Energy website. Additionally, the website hosts a breakdown map which displays information about the number of absent customers and the expected time for restoration. Customers can also stay informed by following Xcel Energy on Facebook and Twitter.

Other ways for customers to prepare and stay safe

  • Stay away from downed power lines. Always assume that a power line, even one that is on or near the ground, is live and therefore dangerous. Never, under any circumstances, touch or move a downed power line. If you encounter a downed power line, leave the premises and report it immediately by calling 1-800-895-1999.
  • Prepare a home emergency kit. Xcel Energy recommends assembling an easily accessible kit that can be used in the event of a power outage. Useful items may include:
    • Xcel Energy phone numbers – 1-800-895-1999 for home or 1-800-481-4700 for business
    • Battery operated radio or television
    • Flashlights
    • Battery
    • Save Phone Chargers
    • A phone that does not require electricity
    • Non-electric alarm clock
    • Bottled water and non-perishable food
    • Manual can opener
    • First aid kit
    • Extensions (for partial breakdowns)
    • Manufacturer’s instructions on how to manually open electrically operated doors (eg garage doors)
  • Heating safety. If you use a heater, be sure to ensure safety, as more than 65,000 household fires are attributed to heating equipment each year in the United States, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International. When using a space heater, make sure the heater bears the label indicating that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory, and read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels. Also, inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs and connections; do not use if frayed, worn or damaged. Never leave a heater unattended. Turn it off when you leave a room and don’t fall asleep with a heater on. Additionally, Xcel Energy offers rebates and incentives for installing energy-efficient furnaces and insulation.
  • Respect food safety. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, food safety is directly related to food temperature. To maintain refrigerator and freezer temperatures, keep the doors closed as much as possible. A full freezer will stay at freezing temperatures for about two days, and a half-full freezer about a day. Visit the USDA website for more information.

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