Huge fires burning in New Mexico and Colorado already are stretching existing resources, but federal fire officials say they will be able to handle big blazes later this season.
A relatively cool, wet spring has kept rangeland fires down, and that would historically give Idaho land managers comfort going into fire season.
But Southwest Idaho fires triggered by sparks from gunfire and fueled by strong winds have kept firefighters running the past week two wildfires near Kuna on Sunday burned about 800 acres, and a third shooting-related fire Monday burned 370 acres south of Marsing.
On Tuesday, BLM firefighters battled a small wildfire south of Mountain Home. Homes were threatened but not damaged, said BLM fire information officer Mallory Eils.
The Hog Fire, sparked by welding equipment, was contained at 4 p.m.
Idahos fire season is one to two weeks behind its normal schedule, said Ed Delgado, National Interagency Fire Center predictive program manager. Southwest Idaho could be a trouble spot later this year, he said: We had a wet spring and theres a lot of grass out there.
It used to be that fire season ended in late August or early September, when a cold front came through bringing rain and sometimes snow in the high country. Now fire season sometimes lasts into late September and longer, as warmer temperatures linger.
Firefighters talk about a season-ending event, Delgado said. Im not convinced thats happening. Ive seen fire seasons running well into November.
The same is going on worldwide, according to a new study led by a team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, in collaboration with an international team of scientists. It was published Tuesday in Ecosphere, a journal of the Ecological Society of America.
Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech, said the new study built a forecast based upon projections across 16 different climate models and satellite data, giving a global perspective on fire patterns and their relationship to climate.
In the long run, we found what most fear increasing fire activity across large parts of the planet, said lead author Max Moritz, a fire specialist at the University of California Cooperative Extension.
The northern Colorado wildfire wrapped Denver in a pungent cloud of smoke for several hours Tuesday and complicated the aerial offensive against the spreading mountain blaze, which has killed one person and destroyed more than 100 structures.
In New Mexico, a 56-square-mile wildfire threatening the village of Ruidoso damaged or destroyed at least 224 homes and cabins.
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