Fire season may start early

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Wildfire > Storm will hardly put a dent into the fire forecast

By Tris DeRoma

Don’t let this weekend’s weather fool you; there’s a high probability that there will be wildfires this year, and they may be coming early. Fire season in New Mexico usually starts in late March and ends in June, with the coming of the monsoons.
According to the National Weather Service’s New Mexico office in Albuquerque, this year’s snow season has been the worst on record for the past five years. According to meteorologist Brian Guyer, precipitation levels in the Jemez Basin have only been only at 20 percent the normal level of snow water. To put that perspective, snow water levels during the Las Conchas fire in 2011 were at 52 percent.
“Generally what we look for to slow the fire season is a good snowpack,” Guyer said. “Since we have not had hardly any snow in that region, that opens up the opportunity for the fire season to start earlier.”
While Guyer was glad to see this weekend’s weather system, he said that will not change the wildfire forecast much.
“There will be periodic weather systems that can delay the wildfire activity for a few days or perhaps a week, but if you don’t have regular, more timely weather systems moving across the area then you’re just going to continue to have deteriorating conditions.”

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