Here Come the Wildfires

In a season full of weather catastrophes, the lack of wildfires in the Western U.S. had been a ray of hope. That's about to change.


In Northern California, where I live, we had a mild start to the summer. I rarely even had my air conditioning on until this weekend. Following a winter with unrelenting rain and snow, the low temperatures seemed to augur a summer with few wildfires. 

No longer.

Soaring temperatures -- they hit 128 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley on Sunday -- are drying out the West. And there's even more feedstock than usual for fires because of the wet winter and spring. So Canada likely will soon not be alone in facing massive damage and smoke from wildfires.

Through mid-July, the U.S. is only at 26% of the historical average of acreage burned (while Canada is at 1,200% of its historical average) 

But AccuWeather says a heat dome forming across the Southwest and Southern California will cause wildfires that will likely peak in August or September but that could burn into the fall. In Southern California, the Rabbit Fire already exploded to more than 7,000 acres over the weekend. 

I'm actually on the Jersey shore this week, for a vacation with my many siblings and our families, so I'm still not using my air conditioning in California :), but I'll be back next week and experience the heat and, likely, fires first-hand. 

In the meantime, if you want to read more, here is a report from a sister organization, the Insurance Information Institute, and Capgemini on how to deal with wildfire threats, along with a raft of statistics on the threats they pose.

Stay safe.