NPR Story
5:21 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Heavy Rains Now, More Fires Yet To Come

Major thunderstorms shortened the Southwest's fire season and saturated much of the region. But in terms of the long-term wildfire threat, we're not out of the woods yet ... so to speak.

So far this year wildfires have burned about 100,000 acres in Arizona and about twice that in New Mexico. The acreage total for those states is well below those of recent years. But the long-term wildfire threat still remains.

"The majority of the models are predicting drier, longer fire seasons, hotter temperatures," said Victor Morfin, fuels specialist for the Coconino National Forest. "And the result for us would be those longer fire seasons more intense fires if those projections are true."

Morfin said the region needs more precipitation, especially late next spring, to mitigate fire risk next year.

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