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As tourist activity increases in the southwestern United States, so will the threat for wildfires through the weekend.
The dry and hot weather pattern that has been in place since April shows no signs of breaking down anytime soon.
“With continued dry conditions, fire danger will remain elevated through the weekend in the Southwest,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson.
According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, exceptional drought exists in portions of seven states: Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona.
Severe to extreme drought currently encompasses nearly 100 percent of Arizona and New Mexico.
Over a half dozen active fires are still burning in western Texas, New Mexico and Arizona as of Sunday, May 20, according to Inciweb.
Evacuations were lifted on Thursday evening as CAL FIRE/Riverside County Firefighters responded to the rapidly growing Patterson Fire, which burned near Winchester, California.
Meanwhile, the Happy Fire, which began about 20 miles north of Bagdad, Arizona, on May 15, has already consumed over 1,000 acres and is only 10 percent contained. The fire is posing no risk to structures at this time.
With temperatures heading upward and snow now having melted in the mountains of Arizona and New Mexico, hiking, climbing and tourism activity are rapidly on the rise across the Southwest.
Those with outdoor plans in the Southwest this weekend should be aware of the location and coverage of the ongoing blazes and be prepared for additional, new fires.
“In addition, as more people begin to get out and about approaching Memorial Day, outdoor enthusiasts who set up campfires will need to make sure that their fires are completely out before leaving their campsite since any hotspots can quickly grow into new and large fires,” Adamson warned.
By taking these precautions, campers can ensure that they do all in their power to prevent igniting a new wildfire. The cause of the Tinder Fire was an abandoned illegal campfire.
Several national parks in Utah announced fire restrictions due to the heightened risk of wildfires.
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“While winds don’t look particularly strong through the weekend, ongoing fires, especially in Arizona where most of the larger fires are currently located, will be difficult to contain with breezy conditions at times,” said Adamson.
Any thunderstorms that fire up in the higher, mountainous terrain may do more harm than good, since lightning from these storms can trigger new fires.
The high fire danger looks to continue into early this week as winds are likely to increase even more with no rain in the forecast.
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Some relief is on the way to the hard-hit Indian state of Kerala, where the death toll from incessant monsoon downpours has exceeded 320.
Residents of western Japan are being put on alert for strengthening Typhoon Soulik to pose serious threats to lives and property Tuesday into Wednesday. Dangers may also spread to South Korea.
In the distant footsteps of Hurricane Hector, Hurricane Lane is forecast to experience a similar evolution and take a similar path just south of the Big Island of Hawaii next week.
Residents across parts of the United Kingdom will want to keep wellies and brollies handy as Ernesto sweeps rain through this weekend.
Wet weather continued to wreak havoc across parts of the northeastern United States this week while a major bridge collapse killed dozens amid severe storms in Italy.
Autumn will feel like a continuation of summer across much of Germany as above-normal temperatures prevail well into October.
After a warmer-than-normal summer for much of the United Kingdom, mild air will continue into the autumn season.
Despite weakening, Rumbia will continue to plague eastern China with flooding rain into early next week.