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Conditions are Ripe For High Wildfire Season Come September

The U.S. national drought early-warning information system, called NIDIS, gave a rundown Thursday on when much of the Southwest will experience conditions that heighten the potential for wildfire.

Drought is one of the main drivers because less water means drier soils, drier plants and drier air, all conditions that fuel wildfire.

California’s ‘New Climate’

In 2020, Californians endured the hottest August, September and October since 1895. Climate scientists warn the trends are evidence of a warming planet. Rising temperatures combined with less rain and high winds have worsened the chance of extreme fire weather.

Southern California is in for a Reprieve from Dangerous Fire Weather

Southern Californians are in for a reprieve from dangerous fire weather that plagued the region for more than a week, with lower temperatures and moister air in the forecast — though still no rain.

Drought Makes Early Start of the Fire Season Likely in Northern California

Expanding and intensifying drought in Northern California portends an early start to the wildfire season, and the National Interagency Fire Center is predicting above-normal potential for large wildfires by midsummer.

Mountain snowpack has been below average across the High Sierra, southern Cascades and the Great Basin, and the agency warns that these areas need to be monitored closely as fuels continue to dry out. The agency also cites a warm, dry pattern in Oregon and central and eastern Washington, and assigns all of these areas a higher-than-average likelihood of wildfires in July.

California Finally Gets Rain, But Fire Threat Far From Over as 350,000 Face Power Outages

Parts of Southern California were under a flash flood watch Wednesday as areas of the southwest saw the first significant rainfall of a delayed wet season that fueled wildfires and forced intermittent power cutoffs to millions of residents.

The storm system brought heavy rain to portions of Arizona, and Phoenix could get 2 inches of rain before the storm ends there on Thursday. Prior to this storm, Sky Harbor International Airport had recorded only 3.68 inches for the entire year.