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Summer Of Wildfires As Drought Persists In California

Cal Fire / Courtesy

Cal Fire says it has responded to more than 2,400 wildfires in California so far in 2016, including the Trailhead Fire (photo) in Placer and El Dorado counties. Four consecutive years of drought creates conditions ripe for wildfires in California.

Cal Fire / Courtesy

The drought in California is now in its fifth consecutive year and conditions throughout the state have increased potential for wildfires. Cal Fire says it has already responded to more than 2,400 wildfires in 2016.

Federal and state firefighters were working June 30 to contain more than 21 large, active wildfires in 10 states, including two wildfires in California, the Erskine Fire (Kern County) and the Trailhead Fire (Placer and El Dorado counties).

On June 30, Cal Fire says more than 4,900 firefighters were on the lines of 9 wildfires in the state.


The National Interagency Fire Center predicted June 1 that portions of California, Nevada and Idaho will see "above normal" wildland fire potential through September. The agency will issue an updated outlook July 1.


Because of the summer "dry season" in the western U.S. the  Drought Center says any changes to the drought depiction are “minor, if any.”

"However, Abnormal Dryness (D0) was expanded across northern Idaho to reflect declining soil moisture supplies brought on by a lack of rainfall over the past 60 days," according to the U.S. Drought Monitor released June 30.


"Protracted short-term dryness — despite generally cooler-than-normal weather — has also been noted along the northern Pacific Coast," the update says. "These more northerly coastal ranges typically receive some precipitation during the latter half of spring and early summer, and 60-day rainfall has tallied 30 to 50 percent of normal (deficits of 2 to 6 inches) from northwestern California to the Puget Sound."



The National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) says the depiction of "Abnormally Dry (D0)" – the yellow area on the map – is not considered drought. The June 23 report shows that 16 percent of California was not in drought, roughly the same this week.

063016 DROMON-California

In California, as of June 28, 100 percent of the state is abnormally dry, with 83.5 percent in moderate, 59 percent in severe, 42.8 percent in extreme and 21 percent of the state in exceptional drought.   

Hot, seasonably dry weather is expected over the Pacific Coast States the first week of July. The NWS 6-to-10-day outlook for July 5-9 calls for above-normal temperatures across most of the nation, except for cooler conditions in the Northwest.

063018 DROMON-6-10DAY Temps

The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced by National Drought Mitigation Center, which is based at the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The weekly map shows where and how badly drought is affecting the U.S.  

The NDMC says it works in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, NOAA," and about 350 expert observers around the country to produce the weekly update."

063016 DROMON Seasonal

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