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  1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post Southwest Outlook

    PHOENIX (AP) - Ravaged by wildfires in recent years, the
    Southwest could see a quieter fire season in 2005 because of rain
    storms that have drenched the region this winter, according to a
    government forecast.
    The report predicted significant fire activity will not start
    until May because trees, shrubs and grass are wetter than normal.
    In a region haunted by an almost decade-long drought, some fire
    seasons have started as early as February and lasted as late as
    October. The normal fire season runs from May to mid-July.
    The added moisture is good for the mountainous high country, but
    bad for the desert. That is because the longer the moisture lingers
    in desert areas, the taller and thicker vegetation will grow -
    providing more fuel for brush fires later in the year.
    The report, released Friday by the Southwest Coordination Center
    in New Mexico, said lower and mid-elevations can expect to see
    "normal to somewhat above normal activity consistent with wet
    years of past."
    "The high country won't be as significant a problem as it has
    been in recent years, but the desert is going to burn," said Don
    VanDriel, a fire manager for Tonto National Forest in eastern
    Arizona.
    Fire officials from Arizona and New Mexico met Monday to discuss
    projections and begin preliminary resource planning, said Arizona
    state Forester Kirk Rowdabaugh.
    In the last few years, wildfires have destroyed hundreds of
    homes in Arizona and cost millions of dollars to fight. The state's
    largest wildfire occurred in 2002, burning 469,000 acres and
    destroying 491 buildings in eastern Arizona.
    ---
    On the Net:
    U.S. Drought Monitor: http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html
    Southwest Coordination Center: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/fire/

    APTV 02-28-05 2036EST
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


  2. #2
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) - A record-setting wet winter across New Mexico
    has reduced the potential for large wildfires, especially in
    high-elevation forests, according to a federal report.
    The interagency Southwest Coordination Center said in a report
    that the down side could be that moisture spurs the growth of
    grasses, providing fuel for lower elevation fires in late May or
    early June.
    Overall, officials said conditions are far better than in recent
    years when drought was a serious factor.
    "Things look good down in this part of the world," Forest
    Service Chief Dale Bosworth said during a recent visit to
    Albuquerque.
    The start of the fire season is likely to be delayed until May,
    there should be no significant fires above 8,000 feet, and closures
    in recreation areas are very unlikely, said Chuck Maxwell, fire
    weather program manager at the coordinating center.
    The Rio Grande bosque is likely to see a shorter and less severe
    fire season, said Tony Delfin, acting deputy state forester and
    district forester in Bernalillo. But the eastern plains, southwest
    New Mexico and lower elevations in the central and northeastern
    parts of the state could see large grass fires, he said.
    Delfin and state Forester Butch Blazer said hot, dry, windy
    weather can turn the tables.
    "Sometimes things can change very dramatically," Blazer said.
    "You do have fine fuels that are going to grow and cure out even
    at the higher elevations."
    He predicted a normal fire season. The Southwest Coordination
    Center forecast predicted below-normal fire potential.
    "The most likely scenario for the season is that
    higher-elevation forested areas will see well below normal large
    fire activity, with prolonged snow-melt leading to a short and
    subdued season," the center said.
    Dead pinons killed by beetle infestations over the last few
    years will create pockets of increased fire potential but they
    won't represent as great a threat as in the past, according to the
    report.
    Blazer added that the state and other agencies are taking
    advantage of the wetter conditions to do more prescribed burns in
    overgrown areas.

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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