“False spring” triggers early fire season

By Sarah Pridgeon

Crook County was among the low-lying areas of the state to be issued a Red Flag warning from the National Weather Service last week. Because the recent mild weather has caused a “false spring,” there is concern that the region’s fire season may begin much earlier this year.

Eastern and northern parts of the state have enjoyed spring-like weather over the past couple of weeks. Above average temperatures – rising into the 70s over the weekend – low humidity and gusty winds have in combination led to critical fire weather conditions.

The state’s usual fire season lasts from June to October, but there is already possibility of rapid and extreme fires, due to the warm, dry weather.

“People need to be very cautious and pay attention to weather forecasts,” says Jason Perry, Hulett Fire Chief. “We have not greened up yet so the fuels will very readily burn, especially in these red flag situations.”

Fire warnings have been issued, in addition to Crook County, to the adjacent portion of South Dakota, parts of the Nebraska border and, within Wyoming, Laramie, Goshen, Platte and Weston Counties. Daily fire weather forecasts can be viewed at www.crh.noaa.gov/cys/