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Coming Fire Season Here Evaluated

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Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell says his agency is preparing for another busy fire year, but with fewer firefighters to battle the flames.  Tidwell says late winter storms helped ease drought conditions, but that the South and Southwestern U.S. are expected to dry out heading into May and June. Here in northwestern Wyoming, Tracy Weaver of Teton Interagency Fire says the mountains look a lot better than the valley for fire potential.  Weaver says when you look at the snowpack here, the area is close to normal at elevation (which is where the run-off comes from), but at the valley floor level, there doesn’t seem to be very much snow this year and that is a bit of a concern. Weaver says, “Of course what makes a difference for us is whether we get spring rains.”  Unfortunately, she adds, that doesn’t seem to be in the forecast. Weaver says the US Drought Monitor shows the region to be abnormally dry, which is the least level of drought reported.  Further east and to the southwest, conditions are considered extreme to exceptional drought. Still, Weaver says the coming season here is being taken very seriously.  Weaver says, “We know that the chance of having a fire season similar to what we had last year is definitely there.”  Weaver urges homeowners to use the springtime to trim the growth of vegetation from around the home and assure flammable things are stored in such a manner to be “fire wise.”

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