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Fire Safety in CO


Wildland fires are becoming more frequent, more intense, and faster moving due to prolonged draught and more intense weather. Since CMC operates 3,000 trips a year, many for multiple days, the risks of a CMC trip encountering a wildfire is rising. 


A Checklist for CMC Trip Leaders


Colorado wildfires are becoming more frequent, more intense, and faster moving. This checklist offers best practices to manage wildfire risk.


  • Know before you go, the county and land managers’ rules, restrictions, and contact info
  • Check the forecast Fire Weather Outlook
  • Check for current wildfires in Western States
  • Check forecast Air Quality Index (AQI) for your trip
  • Know the forecast prevailing winds and their changes during your trip
  • Plan alternate escape routes along your trail and from planned campsites
  • Have a plan B if you arrive at the trailhead to find the trail closed
  • Carry a satellite communicator for rescue and emergency extraction
  • Know when and how to communicate with Rescue
  • Know when, how, and to whom to report a new wildfire when you don’t need rescue
  • Identify “Safe Spots” along the trail (a meadow, talus slope, rockslide, or tundra)
  • Smelling smoke is no cause for alarm unless you see flames or a column of smoke
  • How to escape a wildfire is extremely situational that requires planning and preparation
  • If being overrun by a wildfire, drop your backpack and rush to a known safe spot
  • When moving to a safe spot, try to stay together and in contact with Rescue
  • If running from a wildfire with a dog, unleash your dog and let it fend for itself

An expanded version is available here that adds tips on when, how, and why as well as what