Wildfires Will Rage Until Rainy Season

And rains aren't expected until mid-July at earliest
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2011 9:06 AM CDT
Flames leap above the tree tops of tall Ponderosa Pine trees in the Apache National Forest during back burn operations as the Wallow Fire continues to burn June 12, 2011 in Big Lake, Arizona.    (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Don't expect the news of wildfires blazing through the Southwest to end any time soon. Officials say fire danger will remain for several more weeks. The seasonal rains that normally stop the fire threat aren't expected to come until mid-July at the soonest. "We're not even into our really hot days," said one Arizona forestry official. So far this year, 1,500 wildfires have destroyed 1,300 square miles in Arizona alone, far more than the 132 square miles that burned in 2010, thanks largely to this year's extra-dry conditions, reports the AP.

Even when rain finally comes to the Southwest, there will be more danger at first: The beginning of the annual monsoon season will probably spark more fires because of lightning. However, "once the monsoon kicks in, it's all over for both New Mexico and Arizona,"said a meteorologist in New Mexico.

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