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Potential for large wildfires forecasted as “normal” through June

A map of the United States shows areas of above normal, below normal and normal significant wildland fire potential for the month of June. Much of Florida, Arizona, New Mexico and the Great Basin are above normal, while much of California is below normal.
National Interagency Fire Center
The National Interagency Fire Center is predicting "normal" potential for large wildfires in Wyoming in June.

Federal fire forecasters are expecting “normal” potential for large wildfires in Wyoming through June, though much of the eastern part of the state is already abnormally dry.

The National Interagency Fire Center’s June Outlook forecasts above normal temperatures and normal precipitation, with the rest of the summer poised to be even hotter and drier.

That’s coming off of a May that was abnormally dry in the eastern half of the state, with moderate drought around Cheyenne and Jackson.

Chris Campbell, deputy regional forester for the Intermountain Region of the U.S. Forest Service, said that early season dryness is concerning.

“Already this year, there's already been a handful of fires in the state, which is abnormal. So I think on the eastern part of the state there's concern,” Campbell said during a recent seasonal briefing with federal, state and local fire managers.

Wyoming has already seen more acres burned this year than all of last.

“We’ve come to expect there's no normal fire year anymore,” Campbell said.

Even a “normal” fire season in Wyoming can see around 800 burns.

Late onset monsoon thunderstorms are expected later this summer west of the Continental Divide.

Regionally, the potential for large fires will trend above normal later this summer.

“We'll see how quickly it dries out, and from that moment forward we'll see what lightning does,” said Kelly Norris, Wyoming's State Forester.

Managers ask for people to be mindful by putting out campfires and not tossing lit cigarettes on the ground.

Nicky has reported and edited for public radio stations in Montana and produced episodes for NPR's The Indicator podcast and Apple News In Conversation. Her award-winning series, SubSurface, dug into the economic, environmental and social impacts of a potential invasion of freshwater mussels in Montana's waterbodies. She traded New Hampshire's relatively short but rugged White Mountains for the Rockies over a decade ago. The skiing here is much better.
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