Wildland Fires More Likely Than Normal Through June
The potential for large wildfires is expected to be higher than normal from the Pacific Northwest to the western Great Lakes, southern California, western Arizona, and portions of the Southeast, according to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC).
In a fire season outlook report covering the period from now through the end of June, the center says that the potential for fires is shaped by a number of factors, including snowpack, the timing of spring snowmelt, rainfall, temperatures, and drought.
One critical factor influencing fire potential during this outlook period is that current drought conditions across portions of Wyoming and the Northern Rockies eastward to the Great Lakes are forecast to persist and elevate fire potential.
Much of the West will continue to see normal to below-normal snowpack through the end of spring, the NIFC said, adding that the dry winter and spring weather in southern California and western Arizona is expected to increase fire potential.
The current El Nino weather pattern in the eastern tropical Pacific is rapidly weakening and will likely end by late spring. However, it may bring increased rainfall over portions of the Southwest and Southern Plains during the period, the NIFC said.
Current drought and fuel conditions in Oklahoma and Texas are much improved compared to last season, so the agency predicts normal to below-normal fire potential for these areas.