Many hoped that the increased rains from this winter’s El Niño would help reduce the drought conditions in California that are helping cause intense wildfire seasons. But less than anticipated precipitation in certain areas of the country, like central California, have lead experts to tamp down their optimism.
From High Country News:
In states bypassed by the strong El Niño, the groundwork has been laid for an intense fire season, says Wally Covington, climatologist and fire expert from Northern Arizona University. Meager snowpack, dry soils and warmer temperatures will make it easier for blazes to spark and spread. According to NIFC’s May outlook, California’s near-normal snowpack (the best since 2011) has depleted rapidly, and the wildfire season is expected to be worse than usual this year, thanks to high fuel loads. Statewide, the ongoing drought has left huge stocks of desiccated timber, while in the state’s southern region, just enough El Niño precipitation fell to encourage prolific grass growth.