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Energy and Environment

Expert: Wet Spring Could Yield More Wildfire Fuel

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

April showers could produce more fuel for wildfires this summer.

Spring is in full bloom in Northern Nevada, and that has some meteorologists concerned, like Gina McGuire of the Great Basin Coordination Center.

"The main caveat this year is going to be the spring growth with the wet conditions we've seen, a lot of precipitation in the winter and spring, and most likely a wet April and cool April ahead for most of Nevada and most of the great Basin."

She says the snow helped compact some carryover timber from last year, meaning there's less fuel to burn, but new growth could exacerbate wildfire season, which typically peaks in July and August.

Wildfire experts will be monitoring growth in the higher elevations as the spring snow begins to melt.

"We are still in a state of drought across Nevada, so we still have that to deal with, which puts extra stress on the fuels, so that makes them more combustible."

How quickly Northern Nevada transitions out of the El Nino weather pattern will play the largest role in determining what kind of a season it will be. McGuire says a wet summer would also lessen the risk of wildfires.

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