Wildfire Activity Preparedness Scale is Up
Recently the U.S. wildfire preparedness level was elevated to a five on a 1 to 5 scale. There are 53 active wildfires with approximately 857,000 acres on fire at this time.
Four new large fires were reported earlier this week, two in Wyoming and one in Idaho and Washington. Wildfires in most western states have been very active. Firefighters are making good progress on the large fires in Idaho and Utah. Jennifer Jones of the National Interagency Fire Center says
Jones: “We’ve also got a significant amount of activity in the Northwest in Oregon and Washington as well as Northern California.”
Jones says that so far 2013 has been a below normal fire year due in part lower number in the desert southwest but current numbers could raise with this elevated fire scale and with Southern California’s wildfire season beginning in early fall.
Jones says there are two factors to consider with potential wildfires. The first factor
Jones: “The fuel conditions you have, how dry the grass, the brush, trees are. What really complicates that is we have a lot of areas in the West where we have hazardous fuels built up, where we have had long-term drought, climate changes coming into play, insect and disease infestations and invasion of non-native species.”
The second factor is ignitions whether from human activity or from lightening and she says fortunately so far we’ve not had the ignitions this year that we’ve had in the past.