By Eric Sagara.
Throughout the West, temperatures are climbing, vegetation is drying out and snow is melting. These are signs of summer, which officially started this week.
But with summer comes fire.
A dozen large blazes already are burning throughout the country, mostly in the Southwest, Southern California and Alaska. And more fires are on the way, according to the National Interagency Fire Center’s seasonal outlook.
The fire center bases its predictions on a variety of factors – drought, vegetation health, weather patterns, climate and snowpack levels. Depending on the area and time of year, different factors weigh more heavily.
“The best analogy I can give is the Swiss cheese approach,” said Jeremy Sullens, a wildfire analyst for the fire center. “We layer a lot of different layers together and where the holes all line up is where we form our areas of concern. We never look at the same variables in the same way from month to month.”