Colorado Warning: Avoid Dangerous Cotton-Burning Challenge
A lot of people are apparently doing it, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea.
We see a lot of crazy things on YouTube - and this isn't the craziest -- but it's a dangerous trend in places like Colorado where the fire danger is especially high because of extremely hot and dry conditions.
The YouTube Challenge
The YouTube trend shows people burning cotton in their yards from cottonwood trees and then watching it burn. In many cases, nothing bad happens. People are getting a kick out of watching the trail of fire as the cotton burns and the fire is contained in their yard. However, the practice could lead to dire consequences.
According to 9 News, four people in the Denver area have been charged with fourth-degree arson in the past month for attempting to burn cotton from their cottonwood trees. Kim Spuhler, the South Metro Fire information officer said it may look cool in a higher humidity area, but in Colorado, it's a dangerous practice that has the potential to cause a wildfire - and an arson charge.
Dangerous Fire Conditions in Western Colorado
It has been a blistering hot end to spring in western Colorado and precipitation amounts have been minuscule. The hot and dry conditions have prompted Mesa County to enact Stage 1 fire restrictions even before the official beginning of summer this Sunday. The fire danger is high.
The National Weather Service has issued an extreme heat warning and a fire weather watch through Saturday. While western Colorado may get a slight break from the triple-digit heat on Saturday, scattered thunderstorms are expected to bring gusty winds and lightning concerns - with very little precipitation. A Red Flag warning is in effect for several areas.
Folks heading to the high country for camping or to the desert for recreational fun should be aware of the current fire restrictions that are in place - and exercise caution and common sense.
As for the burning of cotton, it's simply not a good idea. Back in the day, we were taught to never play with matches and fire. Some people still aren't getting the message.