Ken Clark

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Slow Start to the Fire Season, but Not for All

July 30, 2014; 1:47 PM ET

According the National Interagency Fire Center, this fire season is off to the slowest start of the last 10 years, at least with regards to acreage burned.

With approximately 1.6 million acres burned so far, this is about 600,000 acres less than last year and less than 2.5 million across lower than in 2013 from Jan. 1 to today.

While it certainly has been a slow first half of the year in total across the U.S., there are a couple of exceptions. Here is the map of the current large incidents from the USDA Forest Service.

Most all of the current fires are in the West and especially from northern California into the Northwest. In fact, this area has been very busy for the last month.

Of course, it's not a bad thing to be off to a slow start, but will this keep up? That is difficult to forecast as there are so many variables involved. Besides the weather being a factor, human involvement is a key factor that is a big driver for fire development. Of course that is just about impossible to forecast.

What I can say is that the active monsoon season so far in New Mexico and Arizona has helped in these two states to keep fires down. I can also say that the meat of the fire season for the West is still ahead of us, August through October, and in California and the Southwest even into November. Some of the largest fires come from late September into early November when strong, hot and dry Santa Ana winds blow. If a fire develops during one of these events in a wind-prone area, it can almost be impossible to get under control and can burn thousands of acres in a very short period of time.

One brief note to let you know where I have been of late. To make it brief, I have had kidney stone problem that developed more than a week ago and I have been dealing with the effects from that. Anybody who has had one knows how bad these can be. The outcome, so to speak, is not here yet, but let's hope soon. In addition I actually have a scheduled vacation all of next week.

You can follow me on Twitter @Kenwxman.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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Ken Clark
Ken Clark's Western U.S. weather blog tackles daily weather events with commentary from one of the most experienced and trusted Western U.S. weather experts.