Experts Expect Mild Fire Season - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Experts Expect Mild Fire Season

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KALISPELL - Thanks in part to all of the recent rain, Flathead National Forest officials predict a pretty tame fire season.

For the Northern Rockies region that touches most of western Montana, 2012 was a record year where almost 1.5 million acres burned. Since 2000, the annual average sits around 500,000 acres scorched.

Keeping in mind the ongoing downpour, the bigger than usual snow pack, and some weather data, they're thinking we could be in for an average or even below average season.

"For us, they're inclined to predict a below normal to normal fire season for the Northern Rockies," said Rick Connell, the fire management officer for the Flathead National Forest.

Connell says 2014 is shaping up like an El Niño year, where you get a wetter summer and drier fall. Recently, 1986, 1997, and 2002 were all El Niño years and averaged just 59 acres burned in Flathead National Forest.
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