Sum­mer, fall wild­fire fore­cast

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By Dan El­liott

Utah, Arizona and other parts of the South­west could face more big wild­fires this sum­mer and fall, while hot and dry weather has also put the north­ern Great Plains at risk, fore­cast­ers said Satur­day.

The Na­tional In­ter­a­gency Fire Cen­ter’s four-month out­look showed el­e­vated dan­ger of sig­nif­i­cant fires in parts of Arizona, Cal­i­for­nia, Ne­vada and Utah, as well as east­ern Mon­tana and the west­ern Dako­tas.

Fire dan­ger also re­mains high on the Big Is­land of Hawaii for the du­ra­tion of the fore­cast, which cov­ers July through Oc­to­ber.

A fire in south­ern Utah has burned 94 square miles and was 60 per­cent con­tained Satur­day. The blaze was hu­man-caused and be­gan June 15, fire man­agers said. Some evac­u­a­tion or­ders were lifted Fri­day.

A light­ning-caused fire in north­ern Arizona burned 40 square miles and was 44 per­cent con­tained.

A com­plex of light­ning-caused grass fires in Wash­ing­ton state had burned 73 square miles. They ranged from 74 to 100 per­cent con­tained.

Other fires were burn­ing in Cal­i­for­nia, Colorado and New Mex­ico.

Con­di­tions ap­peared bleak in the north­ern Great Plains, but no ma­jor wild­fires were burn­ing in the re­gion Satur­day, ac­cord­ing to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s In­ciWeb fire in­for­ma­tion sys­tem. The U.S. Drought Mon­i­tor map is­sued Thurs­day showed al­most all of North Dakota and South Dakota and the east­ern half of Mon­tana rang­ing from ab­nor­mally dry to ex­treme drought. East­ern Mon­tana and west­ern North Dakota re­ceived less than half their nor­mal rain­fall in June, the Na­tional In­ter­a­gency Fire Cen­ter said.

The wild­fire out­look was bet­ter for the North­west, the Mid­west and the east­ern half of the nation.

Be­low-nor­mal dan­ger was pre­dicted for most of the South and south­ern Florida through Au­gust. Be­low-nor­mal dan­ger also was ex­pected in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber in south Texas and a swath from north­ern Mis­sis­sippi to south­west­ern Penn­syl­va­nia.

A fire­fighter tries to con­trol a blaze near Light­ner Creek Road west of Du­rango last week.

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