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CNN Today

More Firefighters Expected in Colorado as Authorities Hope for Wetter, Cooler Weather

Aired June 15, 2000 - 1:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Hundreds of firefighters are expected to arrive in Colorado today to join what's already a massive effort against two huge wildfires. Stronger winds, hot dry air today could make matters much, much worse.

CNN's Rusty Dornin joins us now from Park County, Colorado -- Rusty.

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN ANCHOR: Lou, if you could name the absolute worst case scenario for firefighters, it would be hot, dry and windy and that's exactly what it is today. It's a red flag fire day: very low humidity, the temperatures are expected to get up in the 80s, and the wind, as you can probably tell, is really blowing.

Now firefighters -- hundreds of firefighters gathered this morning for a briefing, and we're told how dangerous the conditions could -- would be today, how unpredictable.

And here to tell us a little bit more about that, and talk about that, is Steep Weiss, who's with the fire management team here.

Steep, how dangerous is it for the firefighters going into conditions like this where winds are gusting from different directions?

STEEP WEISS, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, ROCKY MOUNTAIN FIRE MGMT.: It's a real safety concern and firefighters are all trained to cope with that. We place high emphasis on always knowing where safety zones are and escape routes, to get to them if necessary, posting lookouts and maintaining communications, so.

DORNIN: Well, the high winds also make it difficult to even fight the fire; don't they? I mean, it's difficult to get equipment in and that kind of thing?

WEISS: Yes, the high winds particularly effect aircraft use, both the helicopters and we haven't identified a need today for aerial retardant tankers, but if we needed them, the winds -- the higher winds would really limit their availability.

DORNIN: How about the danger of the fire spreading?

WEISS: Yes, the high winds sure increase -- tend to increase fire activity, fire behavior, especially with the lower humidities and higher temperatures. The -- they need to be ready to, you know, respond accordingly.

DORNIN: Great, Steep Weiss, thank you very much, of the fire management team.

The firefighters are expected to be out until late this evening. There is a cold front coming in and -- which temperatures are expected to drop and there is expected to be some rain tomorrow, which is a welcome respite from the hot dry conditions. They're just hoping it doesn't get out of hand today.

Reporting live near Bailey, Colorado, I'm Rusty Dornin.

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