RAPID CITY, S.D. – Cool, wet weather has prompted federal fire forecasters to ease their predictions for an intense wildfire season.
The National Wildfire Coordination Center on Friday downgraded its above normal prediction to normal.
Forecasters said recent rain and snow have moistened rotting logs and fallen timber that fuel major fires. Cool temperatures have helped keep fire fuels moist into early summer when they would normally dry out, they said.
Terry Tompkins, a Black Hills National Forest fire management officer, said this year may actually be a more normal fire season than in recent years.
“The past years have been extremely busy nationwide, and now it looks like we can now finally catch our breath here if it continues to rain here frequently,” Tompkins said.
But he warns that a return of consistently dry weather could quickly increase the risk of major fires.