The head of the US Forest Service says land managers are ready for what’s likely to be another active fire season. Tom Tidwell is touting the level of cooperation among federal and state agencies, while urging private landowners to play their part.
'I just can't stress that enough," he says. "I would encourage all our private landowners to go to our Firewise website to see what you can do around your home, to make a difference, to make your home more defensible, and to make it a lot easier on our firefighters."
At the same time, Chuck Maxwell, who heads predictive services for the Southwest Coordination Center, says he's hopeful that a changing weather pattern could be good news for the Southwest. In contrast to last year's dry and very windy La Nina conditions, he says this spring has been mostly dry and warm with some light rain, signaling the arrival of an El Nino pattern. That rain, coupled with reduced levels of tall, dry grass, could help mitigate fire danger in some areas. But he cautions that heavy fuels are still very susceptible to fire, especially in New Mexico's northwestern mountains.
Hear Maxwell's full prediction here: