Firefighters could make headway on large fires with cool down this week
Boise, IDAHO (KBOI) —
With some help from Mother Nature heading into the weekend, firefighters in the Northwest could finally gain significant ground on major fires in the region.
Thick smoke and haze have plagued many western states for months with wildfires raging in the Pacific Northwest and parts of British Columbia.
A steady pattern of hot and dry weather has made it hard to tackle some of the larger fires.
"This fire season seems more extreme to a lot of people because we have so many large wildfires burning near homes and communities, people have been evacuated, people's lives have been threatened so it definitely seems like a more extreme fire season," said Jessica Gardetto, Spokesperson for NIFC.
The National Interagency Fire Center tracks how many acres are lost each year to wildfires.
This season, 8.1 million acres have already burned across the United States; that's 2 million acres behind the record fire season of 2015, where over 10.1 million acres burned.
With a storm system moving in later this week, fire officials are hoping that fire season will start winding down.
"We are hoping that this could be our season-ending weather event, although it's hard to tell at this point but, regardless, getting some precipitation, those cooler temperatures...that's really going to help firefighters contain a lot more of these fires and eventually get them completely out," said Gardetto.
The number of homes lost is another way to determine the severity of a wildfire season.
Over 500 homes have been lost so far to wildfires this year compared to the average of 2,600 lost each season.