Editors Note: This article was originally published here on the Wenatchee World website on 6/29/21 and is written by Tony Buhr.
The Pacific Northwest should get ready for an above normal, significant fire season in July through September.
The National Interagency Fire Center is predicting a difficult fire season for most of the Western United States, with 87% of the region now listed in drought conditions, according to a report from the agency. People can see the report here. It is the most expansive and intense drought in over a century and is getting even worse in California and parts of the Pacific Northwest, according to the report.
Washington state had an above average snowpack this year, but with historically high temperatures the snowmelt is on its way, according to the June 1 report. Also, despite the heavy snowpack, 87% of the state is abnormally dry and 21% is experiencing a severe drought.
The month of May saw light fire activity with 200 fires burning about 1,700 acres, according to the report. Most of the fires were human-caused from debris, agricultural and recreational burns.
May saw about 50% of normal precipitation for the Pacific Northwest, but temperatures remained cool for the second half of the month helping prevent significant fires, according to the report. A few slow-moving systems also helped provide some moisture in the last part of May, although precipitation remained below normal.
Despite the warnings, the fire season has been light across the United States so far this year. As of May, the number of acres burned was below the 10-year average.
For the latest Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Campfire restrictions click here.