Boise, Idaho, USA –The potential for large wildfires is expected to behigher than normal from the Pacific Northwest to the western Great Lakes,southern California, western Arizona and portions of the Southeast, according tothe National Interagency Fire Center, NIFC.
In a fire season outlook report covering the period from now through the endof June, the center said Tuesday that the potential for fires is shaped by anumber of factors, including snowpack, the timing of spring snowmelt, rainfall,temperatures and drought.
One critical factor influencing fire potential during this outlook period isthat current drought conditions across portions of Wyoming, and the NorthernRockies eastward to the Great Lakes are forecast to persist and elevate firepotential.
Much of the West will continue to see normal to below normal snowpack throughthe end of spring, the NIFC said, adding that the dry winter and spring weatherin southern California and western Arizona is expected to increase firepotential.
The current El Nino weather pattern in the eastern tropical Pacific israpidly weakening and will likely end by late spring. However, it may bringincreased rainfall over portions of the Southwest and Southern Plains duringMarch, the NIFC said.
Current drought and fuel conditions in Oklahoma and Texas are much improvedcompared to last season, so the agency predicts normal to below normal firepotential for these areas.
Wildfire activity for the week ending March 23 was heavy with 2,536 new firesreported, of which 2,374 occurred in the Southern Area. Twenty-eight of the newfires were large fires. At week’s end there were nine uncontained large firesacross the country, most in the Southeast region.
The NIFC indicates that dry conditions will persist over Florida and much ofthe southeastern states through this week.