"Long, Hot Summer: Wildfires Thrive on Drought, Heat and Wind"

"After several years of relatively benign fire seasons, the West is headed into a hot, dry summer of potentially ferocious blazes like the ones that have scorched Colorado in recent weeks."

"The wildfires that have already destroyed more than 700 homes and outbuildings along Colorado's Front Range and blackened hundreds of thousands of acres of New Mexico wilderness are not likely to be the season's last for one simple reason: drought.

'This year, fires are going big,' Tom Harbour, fire and aviation director for the U.S. Forest Service, said last week. 'We've had some really extraordinary runs … fires that are running 10 miles in lighter fuels. Fires that are running miles in forested areas.'

A dry La Nina winter and a paltry, quick-melting snowpack in much of the West have set the stage for another incendiary summer, compounding the effects of a long-term drought that has gripped the seven-state Colorado River basin for more than a decade."

Bettina Boxall reports for the Los Angeles Times July 2, 2012.

SEE ALSO:

"Firefighters Gain Upper Hand in Colorado, See Long Wildfire Season" (Reuters)

"Scientists Sorting Out Beetle-Fire Relationship" (AP)

"Researchers: Conditions Have To Be Right for Beetles To Play Big Role in Wildfire Recipe" (AP)

"Heat, Wind, and No Rain Just Part of a Recipe for Wildfire Disaster" (KSL Utah)

"Experts in Aspen Say Climate Change Is Stoking Blazes Around the World" (Real Aspen/Colorado Independent)
 

Source: LA Times, 07/03/2012