The number of new wildfires in the U.S. so far this year is at a ten-year high, according to federal data, prompting warnings of a long, potentially dangerous summer of fire. From a report: One of the biggest areas of concern right now is the high desert Great Basin region in Utah, Nevada and eastern Oregon. “When you have standing dead grass that’s already out there and when we have high heat, that ignition potential raises dramatically,” said Paul Peterson, a fire management officer for the Bureau of Land Management. Since January, more than a million acres have burned from more than 28,000 wildfires â” the highest number of fires for this date since 2011. There are currently 33 active large fires across the West. The biggest has scorched more than 175,000 acres in the canyons and valleys east of Phoenix. It is 73% contained. A record-breaking heat wave across the West this week isn’t helping ease fire danger. Temperatures have soared into the triple digits in Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Montana, where new wildfires are sparking weeks earlier than normal.
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