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Fire crews to battle dry, breezy conditions across western US into next week

AccuWeather logo AccuWeather 6/23/2018 Renee Duff

A wildfire burns in sagebrush and grass on a sidehill in Warm Springs, Oregon on August 18, 2017. © ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images A wildfire burns in sagebrush and grass on a sidehill in Warm Springs, Oregon on August 18, 2017.

Persistent dryness and localized breezy weather may create difficulties for firefighters battling wildfires across the western United States into early next week.

Around one dozen large fires are burning across seven states in the West, including as far north as Washington and Oregon, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

The fires, some of which have been triggered by lightning, have been fueled by the extremely dry brush across the region.

Extreme to exceptional drought continues to plague the Four Corners states, while abnormally dry to severe drought conditions have expanded into the Pacific Northwest, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Mainly dry weather is expected to continue to exacerbate the wildfire and drought situation into early next week.

California and the southwestern U.S. will not have any drought or wildfire relief through the end of June with heat and dry conditions expected to continue, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jack Boston.

Temperatures will continue to climb into the triple digits daily across California's Central Valley and the Desert Southwest.

In addition to the heat, fire crews over the Four Corners states will face locally gusty winds that can quickly fan ongoing or new blazes through Sunday.

While areas farther north will not have to contend with intense heat, wind may create hazards for fire crews early in the week.

"Following a brief weekend warmup, much cooler Pacific air will come back into the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies early next week, with just a few showers in northern areas," Boston said.

The bulk of the wet weather on Monday will target British Columbia, Canada, where wildfires are also running rampant.

The cooler air and uptick in humidity and clouds will help to suppress new fire activity across the Pacific Northwest.

However, these benefits may be negated in part by locally gusty winds sweeping through Washington and Oregon at the same time.

Winds can cause active blazes to breach containment lines and grow rapidly.

By Tuesday, winds will whip farther inland across Montana and Wyoming.

As conditions continue to remain ripe for wildfire ignition and growth across the West into next week, people are encouraged to avoid using fireworks, outdoor flames or other objects that can create sparks and ignite a new blaze.


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