The Future of Wildfires in Wyoming

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Last year's wildfire was not horrible for Wyoming, and recent rain may encourage you to believe this year won't be bad either.

However it's hard to argue with scientific facts. Meteorologist Justin Roth breaks down those numbers and explains this upcoming wildfire season and the future of wildfires in Wyoming.

It doesn't take much. Warm temperatures, dry vegetation, a little wind and next thing you know, wildfires. The fact is eighty-two percent of Wyoming's population lives in area's of elevated risks for wildfires.

Knowing these statistics is important but being prepared is even more-so. Like preventive maintenance around your homes, Ryan Grigg is a firefighter with the Natrona County Fire Department he says, "make sure that the area around your house is clear of all the clutter anything that can catch on fire; palettes, wood, stacks of wood. Basically anything that could catch on fire. Make sure that those are kept away from your house.

So why do wildfires happen?

You need a heat source. Grass and trees in our case. Wyoming's dry vegetation works as the perfect fuel. As shown in animation above most of our fires start with lightning strikes during pop-up thunderstorms in the summer, but lightning sometimes strikes the ground where it isn't raining, therefore a wildfire easily starts.

From there, wind, we all live in Wyoming, and wind is something we certainly don't lack.

As for other ways wildfires start you may think campfires or maybe even a tire blowing out on the side of the road but Grigg explains a couple other, "Be careful where you put your cigarettes out that's a big one too. Fireworks, even though fireworks are prohibited in Natrona County people still light them off be careful of that stuff. Basically anything that can ignite the grass be careful. Grinders, welding, stuff like that and make sure you're not grinding and welding in hip high grass."

The National Weather Service monitors drought conditions. This is a good indicator of where to watch for potential wildfires because the conditions are favorable. Wyoming is projected to see an increase in severity of widespread summer drought of approximately 40 percent by 2050.

A Fire Weather Warning or Red Flag Warning means conditions are extremely favorable for wildfires to develop and spread quickly.

Outdoor burning should be avoided during these times.