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Southern US Has Above-Average Wildfire Potential, NIFC Says

By S.L. Fuller | May 2, 2017

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The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) shows that Florida’s and southern Georgia’s potential for wildfire is above normal during the coming months.

“Florida and southeastern Georgia continue to experience significant fire activity as warmer and drier than normal conditions persist,” the fire center said. “Worsening drought conditions in these areas continue to lead to increased fire activity and behavior. Recent precipitation events have not been significant or frequent enough to provide relief. The existing conditions and activity are expected to peak by early June before beginning to show improvement and subside as tropical patterns develop bringing beneficial precipitation.”

Arizona and western New Mexico are also expected to experience an increase in fire activity this month and next, as those regions are heading into the peak of their fire seasons. The fire center said these regions have seen significant growth of fine fuels, which led to above-normal potential for fire. However, monsoonal rains are expected to hit along the Mexican border in early July.

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At that time, fire potential shifts to California and Great Basin, Nevada. This is due to heavy loading of fine fuels, caused by significant amounts of winter and early spring precipitation. Alaska is experiencing abnormal dryness in the south-central area of the state. The fire center has given that area normal potential, but more significant fire activity could ensue across the state’s interior.

During the latter half of July, fire potential is expected to make its way to Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies. The fire center said lower elevations should make a normal transition into their fire seasons, while higher elevations could experience a delayed entrance into fire season.

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