According to a recent estimate by the United States Department of Agriculture, the outlook for the fire season is severe across much of the western United States. Sheridan Media's Chris Foy has more.
Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, said the USDA is already working to preposition USDA firefighting teams and equipment to make the most effective use of available resources during this time of constrained budgets.
In a media release, USDA officials emphasized the importance of interagency partnership, demonstrated during last year's Gilead Fire as federal assets were used in conjunction with crews from Wyoming, Montana and across the nation. The department says public awareness is also key in protecting communities from wildfire.
This year, the department said significant fire potential is predicted to be above normal in much of the West, including almost all of Arizona, New Mexico, California, Oregon and Idaho; and portions of Montana, Colorado, Utah, and Washington. Wyoming was not mentioned as having significant fire potential in the release.
Just last year, more than 9.3 million acres of private, state and federal land - including more than 4,400 structures - burned in wildfires across the country. That was the third highest number of acres burned since at least 1960, the earliest date with reliable records.