Laramie, Wy – Federal fire forecasters say the potential
for wildfires is rising on the rangelands across the West due to an unusually thick blanket of grasses that are drying out quickly.
Their new fire forecast released today says 18 months of wetter-than-normal weather across much of the region has spurred growth of vegetation on the desert plains.
That means there's more to burn than usual.
Wildland fire forecaster Tom Wordell with the Forest Service says the entire West will be warmer than normal this summer.
That could also accelerate the snowmelt and raise fire potential in the mountain forests at higher elevations.
Already this year, the number of acres burned by wildfire across the U-S is nearly 600 percent higher than last year at this time.