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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Hot forecast portends fire danger

An impending heat wave could put the Northwest in more fire danger.

Washington State University meteorologist Nic Loyd said a heat wave will hit Sunday through Tuesday. In general, temperatures will be 25 degrees above normal. The severity of fire season is often determined by weather in June, said Mike Behrens, the Idaho Panhandle National Forests fire management officer.

“If we get some good June rains, it could put us on a good trajectory,” Behrens said.

The Northwest’s unusually dry and mild winter means high-country fuel sources are dryer and more likely to combust. High-country snowpack, which usually doesn’t fully melt off until later in the summer, is already nearly gone. Behrens isn’t doing anything specifically different in preparation for this season; however, he’s in communication with other fire agencies. In the event of a large fire, they can share resources, such as air support and hot shot crews.

According to Idaho Panhandle National Forests predictions, North Idaho will see “increasing to above normal” wildland fire conditions for the month of June. However, in July and August, both North Idaho and Eastern Washington are expected to experience “above normal” fire conditions.

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