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Wildfires more likely in August in several parts of Mountain West

Hundreds of wildfires occur each year in Nevada, such as the Becky Peak Fire, seen here burning about 50 miles north of Ely on July 9, 2022.
Courtesy of InciWeb
Hundreds of wildfires occur each year in Nevada, such as the Becky Peak Fire, seen here burning about 50 miles north of Ely on July 9, 2022.

The National Interagency Fire Center predicts wildfire potential will be higher than normal in northwest Nevada, southwest New Mexico, and across most of Idaho, according to the latest monthly outlook.

By mid- to late August, parts of eastern Nevada and northern Utah also could see above-average fire activity. Meanwhile, the forecasts for Colorado and Wyoming are normal.

Maureen Kennedy, a wildfire researcher at the University of Washington, Tacoma, said sections of the West with higher fire potential share similar weather forecasts.

“They’re expecting below average precipitation and above average temperatures,” Kennedy said. “And it’s really as simple as that. If you’re gonna get within the summer hotter and drier conditions, that just makes it easier for fires to start, and it makes it easier for them to spread.”

Kennedy said climate change, which is primarily caused by burning fossil fuels, could also cause the West’s wildfire seasons to last longer than usual – this year and in years to come.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado, and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Copyright 2023 KUNR Public Radio.

Kaleb Roedel
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