Among the many negative outcomes of a drought is the increased risk of wildfire as tinder-dry grass and other fuel for a wildfire can easily go up in smoke. Then it rains and what happens—you get more grasses and other fuel for wildfires.
At least that’s what USDA said recently in its outlook for the 2015 wildfire season. Federal officials say in spite of above average rainfall across the U.S. Southwest in recent months, the latest estimates for wildfire activity this summer indicate that the buildup of fuel, a changing climate, and insect and disease pressure, heavily forested areas, especially in the West, could tax federal fire suppression efforts in 2015, reports Southwest Farm Press.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center's (NIFC) Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for 2015, below normal fire potential will exist in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Colorado as a result of heavy spring rains driven by an El Niño weather event in the southern Pacific.
Heightened fire dangers in southern Arizona and parts of central and northern California and Oregon are expected this summer. Washington, Oregon, northern Idaho and western Montana are expected to face increasing fire risks later in the summer season, and if the El Niño system dissipates before the end of summer, high risks could return to parts of the Southwest.
Click here to read more on the wildfire danger.