The wildfire season is off to a fortuitously slow start; wildfires have burned an estimated 175,000 acres this year in the U.S., the lowest number to date in a decade, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Experts have attributed this low figure to unusually cool weather patterns in the southeastern U.S., where the season's fires tend to form first.
Other areas of the country might not be as fortunate. A recent article in USA Today predicts that the West could get walloped, as "significant fire potential" is expected in nine states. "We've had above average temperatures and below-average precipitation in the West, a combination that doesn't bode well for a good season," Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told the newspaper. California could be in particular trouble, since the state has already experienced a substantial increase in fire activity when compared to the average acreage burned for this time of year.
Molly Mowery, NFPA's program manager for Fire Adapted Communities and International Outreach, tells USA Today that taking preventative measures now could safeguard homes from ruin. NFPA's Firewise Communities Program offers an array of principles that can reduce the risk of wildfire damage.
For more information on these principles, visit the Firewise website.