Busy Firefighting Season Looms

 - November 1, 2006, 11:26 AM

HAI is warning its members that a dry, warm winter across the Northwest and even the record winter rainfall in the Southwest have created conditions that indicate this year’s wildfire season could be extreme.

In parts of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, the snowpack is only about 25 to 50 percent of normal. The U.S. Drought Monitor, which tracks conditions across the nation, says that vast tracts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho face “exceptional drought,” the worst of five drought categories.

A significant threat exists for the Southwest because of the lush crop of grass and brush, with fears mounting that any spark or lightning outbreak could start “significant” grass fires in normally desert regions.

HAI says it will monitor operations at NIFC and work with members of Congress on contractingand funding issues that affect the rotorcraft industry.