Heightened Fire Danger in the Southwest
While most of the eastern half of the United States has been rather rainy and cool, the western half has been warm and dry. In fact, triple digit temperatures have gripped the Desert Southwest rather early this year. As a result, the warmer and drier conditions are leading to a high fire danger into this weekend. Some improvement is expected today (Thursday) with less wind and slightly higher humidity, with a smaller area of alerts than earlier this week.
With an increase in wind expected Friday, plus a drop in humidity, fire risks expand throughout the Four Corners and Southwest Friday.
A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior. During these times extreme caution is urged, because a simple spark can cause a major wildfire.
Unfortunately, the widespread drought conditions in the West will likely continue through this month. This lack of moisture causes vegetation to dry out quicker and in turn creates potential fuels for wildfire.
The Climate Prediction Center’s precipitation outlook into next week shows some improvement may be ahead. The latest 6 to 10 day forecast calls for average to slightly above normal rainfall for portions of the Southwest.
Warmer than average temperatures through this period will likely be found across the Southwest and Southeast, which may play a role in keeping heightened fire weather conditions in the forecast for some areas.
More information on the Climate Prediction Center’s updated outlook for the entire month of May can be found HERE.