Thursday, June 18, 2015

Above-Normal, Costly Wildfire Season Forecast for the West

[AccuWeather] California needs rain to help break a years-long drought, but some of the storms that could form this summer may spark more wildfires in the West.
More than 50 Western wildfires were caused by lightning since May 30, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Above-normal wildfire conditions are expected through at least September, the National Interagency Fire Center said.
In September and especially October, things will start to change and an increase moisture heading toward the wet season may help firefighters, but before then, the storms will cause more problems than help, AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said.
Dry thunderstorms will be a problem across the region.
"They are dry because they are driven by mid- to upper-level moisture and not deep, low-level moist connection," Pastelok said. "Therefore, the base of these storms are higher than normal and precipitation evaporates before reaching the ground. However, you can still get lightning and the strikes are what ignites the fires and the wind kicked up by these storms helps spread the fires." Read More

Alaska gets help from lower 48 states in fighting wildfires
Firefighters and equipment from the lower 48 states and Canada are arriving to help battle wildfires burning in the nation's largest state. Weary firefighters welcomed the help as they struggled to keep up with two major fires threatening rural highway communities, even as lightning sparked nearly a dozen more blazes.