2016 wildfire season expected to be less severe

2016 wildfire season expected to be less severe

DENVER (AP) – The nation’s top wildfire-fighting official says the 2016 season isn’t expected to be as bad as last year, when a record 15,800 square miles burned nationwide.

But U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said Wednesday that Southern California, other parts of the Southwest, Alaska and Montana could face severe fires.

Tidwell spoke to The Associated Press four days before the federal government issues its wildfire outlook for the summer season. He was in Denver for a conference on forest health.

Much of California remains in a long-term drought, despite an El Nino weather system that brought near-average snowfall to its mountains.

Tidwell says Montana and Alaska also suffered through dry winters.

The Forest Service is the nation’s primary wildfire-fighting agency. Last year it spent a record $1.72 billion fighting fires.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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