On the eve of the two-year anniversary of the Table Rock Fire, officials with a host of firefighting agencies held a press conference outlining the dangers of the 2018 wildfire season.
As winds whipped atop Table Rock and the dried grasses of the foothills quivered behind him, Bryan Henry succinctly delivered one message.
“It should be a very robust fire season across southern, especially southwestern Idaho,” he said at a podium perched on a promontory overlooking the brown hills.
Henry is with the National Interagency Fire Center’s predictive services. He says the mild winter is one of the reasons why Idaho is at an elevated risk this fire season.
“Recall last winter, we did not have much of a winter at all,” said Henry. “A lot of those fine fuels didn’t get mashed by snow fall because there wasn’t much. So we have a lot of standing fuels out there. The grasses right now are deceptively green – they will carry fire at this point in time. We are in that transitional phase where we get into our active portion of our fire season.”
Henry and NIFC are predicting an extended hot weather pattern setting in after the Fouth of July. That’s when the grasses will completely dry out and present the maximum danger. At that point, a wind event or a thunderstorm – both common in July – could spark the next big blaze.
Henry says long-range climate models suggest the weather will be less conducive to fires come mid-September.
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