Will this year’s wildfire season by as severe as last year? Experts say it’s too early to predict, but if current drought trends and wildfire outbreaks are any indication, many states may see a smoke-filled summer.
Officials across large swaths of the western and central United States are on high alert as intense drought raises concern on the impending fire season, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. States west of the Mississippi River, including California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska could all be facing an active wildfire season.
The southeast likely won’t be spared. Four active wildfires have already been reported in Alabama and Mississippi, and experts anticipate an increase in fire risk in the region. Click here to read the latest Wildland Fire Potential Outlook, released on April 1.
“Weather pattern influences, including last winter’s dry, low snowpack season contribute to the impending danger,” Jeffrey Berino, deputy chief with Colorado's Lake Dillon Fire District and senior fire investigator for Pie Consulting & Engineering, told Property Casuality 360°. “Another contributing factor is [last] year’s wildfires began before Wildfire Season officially commenced on May 21. In fact, before the end of February, a call came in for the first wildfire of the year, which was caused by a lightning strike in the Southwest.”
Last year wildfires ravaged thousands of acres across multiple western states. Colorado in particular was devastated by 12 wildfires in 2012. The High Park Fire in northern Colorado in June forced one dairy in Larimer County, Colo., to act fast to save its cows. In the process, the dairy also protected the surrounding community from going up in flames. Read more here.