Volume 2, Number 15 - July 11, 2002
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Fire season yet to come
The National Interagency Fire Center reported last week that the peak of the western fire season is yet to come and already the number of acres burned is nearly triple the 10-year average. By the first of July, nearly 3 million acres burned across the country; the 10-year average is about 1.1-million acres.
According to NIFC, the potential for continued extreme fire activity is high during the next two months. The entire western United States is expected to be hotter-than-normal and with some areas of drier-than-normal. The good news is that seasonal monsoons are expected in the Southwest and eastern Colorado, bringing much-needed rain to those drought-stricken areas.
Monsoon rains typically decrease fire potential throughout the Southwest, but also bring dry thunderstorms to other western states. Based on historical comparisons, about 80 percent of the large wildland fires that occur in many western states do so in July and August. And with dry conditions reported in the Great Basin, California, Wyoming, southeast Montana, and pockets of eastern Washington and Oregon, the potential for fires to escape and become large is very high.
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