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Wildfire threat to ramp up across western US as temperatures soar this week

By By Becky Elliott, AccuWeather Meteorologist
June 16, 2016, 7:05:15 AM EDT

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The threat of wildfires will ramp up heading into the middle of this week across the southwestern United States.

Temperatures in cities like Los Angeles and Las Vegas, that were a touch below normal over the weekend, will skyrocket through Wednesday.


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"Fuels continue to remain dry across the Southwest, and fires in the past month or two have already proved that under the right weather conditions wildfire activity can quickly get out of hand," AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey said.

Trees, grass and brush that have a low level of moisture can serve as fuel and easily catch on fire.

The weather will only become more conducive to wildfire ignition and development as the week goes on.

"Heading into the middle to latter part of the week, a large ridge of high pressure will build across the Rockies. This will put a lid on most shower and thunderstorm activity and cause temperatures to soar, which will dry out the vegetation," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Krissy Pydynowski said.

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Any showers or thunderstorms that manage to develop, mainly on the outer edge of the ridge, would produce little rainfall but plenty of lightning. This includes areas near Yellowstone National Park.

The position of the jet stream will also cause gusty winds to develop daily in the Great Basin later this week, which could easily spread any new or existing wildfires where the vegetation has dried out, Pydynowski said.

Vegetation in places like the Great Basin may be a bit more moist due to the rainfall this weekend. However, as the week progresses and the winds blow, the Great Basin will once again dry out and the wildfire risk will heighten.

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