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Northwest States Experiencing Average Fire Season…So Far

Castle Rock Fire in Idaho
National Interagency Fire Center
Castle Rock Fire in Idaho

In much of the West, wildfire season has gotten off to a relatively slow start this summer. Some recent, timely rains have helped a lot. The moderate activity has led fire managers in Boise to update the national preparedness level.

Castle Rock Fire in Idaho
Credit National Interagency Fire Center
Castle Rock Fire in Idaho

When officials at the National Interagency Fire Center forecast the 2015 season, they made it clear that what we know of as “normal” in wildfires has shifted in recent years. Prolonged drought, along with larger and more difficult to manage fires have become regular occurrences in the West.

But according to NIFC spokesperson Kari Boyd-Peak, recent conditions prompted the agency to lower the national preparedness level from a three to a two. That means there are plenty of resources available for the current fire conditions. She says so far this year, the main focus has been on Alaska, which accounts for 86 percent of the nation's total acres burned so far.

Boyd-Peak: “We do have large fires in five geographic areas, however most of those, with the exception of Alaska have all of their fires pretty much under control.”

The lower threat in the West has allowed the agency to send crews to Canada to help with an unusually severe fire season there.

But Boyd-Peak says despite the slow start, there's still plenty of time for the fire season to pick up in intensity in the West.

Copyright 2015 Northwest Public Radio

Copyright 2015 KLCC

Frankie Barnhill