The 2012 fire season is really just starting to get into gear. While fires do occur at any time of the year, the most volatile time is in the summer and early fall months when the fuel becomes the driest. This is especially true in the Western states.
So far this year, it's been a rather slow start despite some of the hype from the National News Media. That being said there is one huge fire still burning in New Mexico. The Whitewater-Baldy fire has consumed over 263 acres and is only 30 percent contained. This is one of 22 active, large fires with two fires being contained in the last 24 hours.
Here are some statistics to show why I have said that this has been a rather slow start to the season.
So far in 2012, there has been 22,976 fires burning 838,853 acres.
In 2011 to date, there was 29,857 fires burning a much larger 3,450,882 acres.
The 10-year average to date is 32,576 fires burning 1,422,752 acres.
Therefore, 2012 has been well below the 10-year average for the number of fires and acres burned and far below the number of acres burned to date last year. Though interesting, we are in the infancy of the meat of the fire season. A lot can change over the next several month before the fire season peaks late summer and early fall.
Within the three-state area of Washington, Oregon and Idaho, there are 21 large fire incidents ongoing.
The water level on this massive reservoir had never been lower than what was reached on July 9.
It has been pretty hot of late in the interior Northwest but even hotter weather looks likely by Sunday and Monday.
It does not usually rain this time of year; when it does, this is usually how it happens.
This is the beginnings of the summer monsoon pattern that typically starts around the first week in July.
This third straight below normal rainfall season just put the final defining stamp on what has become a nearly statewide exceptional drought.