Wildfires in the West — A Wet Winter was not Wet Enough

The three-year drought in California has ended for all but 9% of the state. That’s good news. However, the huge amount of rain the Golden State received over the winter will cause more growth than usual in the state’s forests and other lands.

So all that means — says AccuWeather in its Fire Outlook 2023 — is the heavy part of the now almost yearly wildfire season will be in August and September and not June and July.

That’s California. Other states in the West are going to struggle with wildfire again this year — AGAIN. That, too, is no surprise.

In 2022 wildfire destroyed 7.5 million acres. AccuWeather’s lead meteorologist, Paul Pastelok says the annual average between 2001 and 2020 was 68,707 fires that burned an average of a little over 7 million acres each of those years. He predicts we will see between 6.5 million acres to 8.25 million acres burned in 2023.

That’s 60,000 to 75,000 wildfires but Pastelok says the actual fire is just part of the story. “A fire season is more defined on the impact to the public and not by the acreage burned,” Pastelok said and pointed to the Camp Fire in Paradise, California in 2018.

It burned killed 85 people, destroyed 18,000 structures and made 52,000 people homeless.

“Predicting wildfire numbers and acreage is very difficult, due to the fact that nearly 90% of fires are caused by humans,” Pastelok said. “Fires started by people are nearly impossible to predict.”

But the AccuWeather prognosticators prognosticated anyway. In addition to the usual heavy wildfire activity in the PIA Western Alliance state of California AccuWeather is predicting heavy fire activity in the PIA Western Alliance states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and northern Nevada as well as northern California.

Source link: AccuWeather —  https://bit.ly/3A8yVlH

About PIA Western Alliance

The Professional Insurance Agents Western Alliance is a membership organization promoting and enhancing the success of independent agencies seeking to grow, learn and be heard within the industry.


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