2012: Easily Much Worse Fire Season Than 2011
Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT-TV) Wildfire experts say states across the West are now at the highest risk of the season for wildfires. That's because of hot weather patterns continuing to dry out fuels and forests across the region. And it's not getting any better.
Locally BLM officials say in almost 20 years of monitoring fuel moisture levels, they've never recorded drier conditions in many of their sites.
Chris Simonson, Fire District Manager, Twin Falls District BLM says, “the drier conditions, the more receptive the fuel is to burning and just taking off and then you combine it with the winds that we get around here and we've had a few more thunderstorms this year than normal....it's just very difficult."
Busy would be an understatement for the Twin Falls BLM.
The Kinyon Road Fire in southwest Twin Falls County ended up being the largest fire in early July for the nation, amounting to approximately 210-thousand acres. As of July 31st, 97 fires have scorched nearly 300-thousand acres of land.
Simonson adds, "even without that fire, we'd be pushing 80-90,000 acres which is getting to be a fairly-good size year and we're not even to August yet."
Looking back to last year, fire crews battled 39 fires totaling only 17-hundred acres. 32 of those were human-caused, in 2012, that number jumps to 66.
According to Simonson, “we still have to date this year more human than lightning fires and that's something we're trying to work on, but it's a big cause."
Fire officials nationwide are still very concerned with August as hot and dry conditions are predicted to last in the forecast.
The BLM wants to remind the public that we are still in Stage One Fire Restrictions for both BLM and Forest Service lands.