West Coast fire season starts early, very low snowpack will make - KMSP-TV

West Coast fire season starts early, very low snowpack will make it worse

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Fire season has already begun in parts of the west about a month earlier than we typically see it. This is of course because of the terrific drought that is playing out in the southwest, and mostly in California. Thousands of acres have been charred over the last few days and a few dozen homes as well. Just check out the current fires across southern California...

More continue to be threatened as we head into the weekend, but unfortunately, this is just the beginning. Thanks to a record dry year in California and top 5 driest in Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada… this could be one of the longest and worst fire seasons in US history. Just check out how far below average the west coast is in precipitation just since January 1st…

Some spots are more than a foot below average in just the first 4 months, and now that they are headed into their dry season (which can last all the way through October) there is little hope to keep vegetation from lighting up. The unusually low snowpack is partially to blame with parts of the southwest only 10% of their usual snow on the ground for this time of year.

You can see that the Desert Southwest barely registers any snowpack whatsoever… meanwhile, areas that are actually in decent shape (still below average though) remain further north in parts of Colorado, Montana, northern Idaho, and Washington state.

It’s this moisture that often provides the west protection from fire through June when all of the snow has melted away. It’s this same moisture that provides nearly 80% of the drinking water for major cities like Phoenix, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. So not only will fire season be rough, but drinking water supplies are dwindling fast and could be at record lows before the year is over. And you thought moving to a warmer climate would be great… you just found the downside.

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