DENVER, Colo. – Fire season has already begun in the Colorado Rockies, far earlier than expected.
The Picnic Rock fire (search) — an 8,700-acre wildfire that has forced scores of people from their homes in northern Colorado — began when a local resident tried to burn debris in his yard.
Bud Schalles had to be evacuated from his home due to the fire and he said he was surprised by the April blaze because fire season typically starts around July and August — "not this early."
Even experienced fire fighting crews were caught off guard. John Bustos, fire information officer, said the fire was so early fire departments are unprepared.
"We don't have resources right on scene," said Bustos. "We don't have all of our resources on board throughout the country."
And the drought that has ravaged the Western U.S. is far from over — this March was the driest in Colorado in nearly 100 years, making the coming tourist season especially dangerous.
While crews begin to get their upper hand on the wildfire they are scrambling to get all of their resources in place for what could be a long, rough fire season throughout the drought-stricken West.
Click here to watch a report by Fox News Channel's Alicia Acuna.