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Impact on Oil, Gas Operations Minimal So Far from Western Wildfires

Even though the traditional wildfire season has yet to begin, the Western Governors' Association (WGA) was keeping a wary eye on fires that have already collectively scorched more than two million acres in California, Colorado and Utah, though with minimal impact so far on oil and natural gas operations.

"None of the major incidents appear to be in areas where our members operate," said a spokesperson for the California Independent Petroleum Association.

Hot and dry conditions have contributed to the blazes and forced thousands of evacuations, according to a WGA report released last Friday.

Colorado's Spring Creek fire was 35% contained on Friday after burning 100,000 acres, making it the third-largest fire in state history. It also touched off some well shut-ins in Huerfano County, CO. According to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), which has inspectors tracking the fires, one operator has had to shut in carbon dioxide wells "as a precautionary measure."

"Local COGCC inspectors are in touch with operators and the federal Bureau of Land Management in regards to the Great Divide fire in Moffat County, and they will be notified if the fire appears to be encroaching oil and gas operations so they may respond appropriately," said a spokesperson with the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. "In talking with the state, additional safety precautions will be taken as needed.”

In California, firefighters reported making progress on an 86,000-acre fire in Yolo County, located north of Sacramento. Fire officials said they don’t usually see fires of this magnitude this early in the year.

"None of the major incidents appear to be in areas where our members operate," said a spokesperson for the California Independent Petroleum Association.

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