June 3, 2013
BOISE, Idaho (AP) Officials with the National Interagency Fire Center say recent precipitation and cooler temperatures have delayed by several weeks the start of the fire season in Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Montana.
But wildfire analyst Jeremy Sullens said Saturday the rain hasn't been enough to alleviate drought conditions or moisten heavier fuel loads, so an above normal fire potential is likely to develop in those states as summer advances.
Fire experts say the long-term prediction is for increased potential for significant fire activity spreading north through California to all of Oregon, much of central Idaho and southern Washington by July, and into Montana in August.
Officials have predicted additional challenges due to federal budget cuts reducing the number of firefighters available.