Several devastating fires are currently raging in the western U.S.—and hot and dry weather will only exacerbate wildfire danger through the weekend.
A lack of rainfall isn't unusual for this time of year—the heat wave and dry weather is. Unfortunately, these conditions will persist.
"Warm, dry weather will continue in the Southwest through the weekend. In addition, winds will become gusty each afternoon," says Ryan Adamson, AccuWeather Meteorologist.
To see where wildfires are reported in the U.S. click and drag or zoom in and out.
Current weather conditions are offering the perfect environment for wildfire outbreaks. Meterologists say little relief from Mother Nature is expected during the holiday weekend. Source: US Wildfire Activity Public Information Map
Dry Conditions Persist in Many States
Farmers and ranchers in North and South Dakota have also been struggling through unusually hot and dry conditions. Since mid-June, those conditions have also spread through Montana and reached down in Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa. Recently, CRP lands were opened for grazing, and hay hauling restrictions have been eased.
A 21,000-acre wildfire has prompted a state of emergency to be declared in parts of Arizona, where several hundred firefighters are struggling to contain the fire in the windy conditions. As of Wednesday, the Goodwin Fire was only 1% contained and thousands of residents had been evacuated.
California’s recent drought-busting rainfall from this past winter has only set the state up for potential disaster— lots of foliage that has now dried into perfect kindling.
Brush fires near Los Angeles have burned dangerously close to homes, including one in Burbank which prompted evacuations. Those evacuations have since been lifted, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Little help will come from Mother Nature in the next few days.
"While some thunderstorms may be possible in areas of the Rockies and points eastward, most of the moisture will miss out on areas currently battling wildfires," Adamson says.
Drovers and The Farm Journal Foundation started “The Million Dollar Wildfire Relief Challenge” to raise money for ranchers to rebuild. The Howard G. Buffett Foundation says they’ll double donations up to $1 million.
So far, more than $500,000 has come in from 46 states. The funds will go to the Working Ranch Cowboy’s Association for grants to help rebuild fencing. You can donate at www.wildfirerelieffund.org.