BOISE, Idaho – Federal forecasters have backed away from predictions for a busy fire season in the West, citing mountain snow and unseasonably cool June temperatures.
The Predictive Services Unit of the government’s national wildfire coordination center is expected to downgrade its “above normal” prediction to “normal” in the western fire season outlook set for release Friday.
“The large fire danger has moderated and it’s not going to be as dire as we first thought,” said Larry Van Bussum, an official with the National Weather Service.
Forecasters say original projections were based on the combination of a dry winter in much of the Northwest and Rockies, and a wet winter in the Southeast that encouraged the growth of fine grasses that help fires spread.
Recent rain and snow moistened rotting logs and fallen timber that fuels major fires.
Cool temperatures have helped keep fire fuels moist into early summer when they would normally be drying out.