Drought, winds to fuel Southwest wildfires as heat builds

Temperatures across the southwestern United States could set new daily records through midweek, contributing to an elevated wildfire risk across the region.

AccuWeather Global Weather Center – May 23, 2022 – For weeks, the Southwest has been gripped by extreme drought, rapidly spreading wildfires and surges of heat. AccuWeather forecasters say that this trend will continue with the temperatures in some cities possibly approaching record territory.

Across the Southwest, the fire season is already off to an active start. Earlier this month, destructive wildfires raged from Texas to Arizona, some of which are still active fires. The Hermits Peak Fire, which started in New Mexico when crews lost control of a prescribed burn, was only 40% contained with over 310,000 acres lost as of Monday morning. Farther south in the state, the Black Fire remained only 8% contained with over 130,000 acres burned as of the start of the week.

Active fires are also continuing in Arizona. The Tunnel Fire, located just north of Flagstaff, Arizona, has burned nearly 10,000 acres, but it is 98% contained as of Monday morning.

This past weekend, calm and cool weather helped fire crews battle the blazes across the Southwest. A bulge in the jet stream over the East Coast created a bottleneck in the atmosphere, sending temperatures surging in the East but allowing for cooler-than-normal weather for much of the rest of the country, even allowing for a late-season snowstorm in Colorado and Wyoming. However, forecasters say that a change in this pattern is underway.

Drought, winds to fuel Southwest wildfires as heat builds (Full Story) >>


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