With less moisture, experts worried the 2021 #wildfire season could be as bad as 2020 — CBS #Denver

Westwide SNOTEL February 19, 2021 via the NRCS.

From TheDenverChannel.com (Dan Grossman):

Much of the western United States has seen less than 85% of the snow it is used to getting and it is worrying some about the fire season ahead.

“There absolutely is a lot of concern that we could see another record fire season,” said Ben Livneh, a hydrologist and assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. “I think people are still getting their bearings on how exactly we got into this situation and what it means.”

2020 saw one of the worst fire seasons in U.S. history. More than 10.27 million acres burned across the country, the most since accurate records began in 1983, and it happened on the heels of a year that brought good moisture.

This year, that moisture is less. According to data from state agencies that track snowpack, the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California have seen 77% of its normal snowfall, Colorado basins are at 93%, and Utah basins are at 82%.

It means it could be another active year for crews meant to protect all of us…

February, March, and April are the snowiest months for the western U.S. so there is time to catch up, but Livneh says it might take an abnormally large amount of snow to get snowpack levels back to normal.

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