Fueling Wildfires: Drought impacting farmers from Texas to North Carolina

Fall foliage mixed with drought conditions across the Southern U.S. are increasing the wildfire risk across the region, providing temporary fuel for 10 big, new blazes in the last week. However, incoming wet weather should slightly tamper that risk, according to USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey in his latest update for farmers.

The ongoing drought in the southern United States is fueling multiple wildfires across an area that spans from Texas to North Carolina. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, 15 active fires are burning across the country, and of those, 10 new, large wildfires ignited this week.

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) Meteorologist Brad Rippey provided an update on the current wildfire threats as they relate to agriculture, saying:

“We’ve got concerns — not just for crops, but also from a wildfire perspective,” Rippey said. “We’ve seen a rash of wildfires in the Southeast in the last couple of weeks. The leaves are coming down. There’s a lot of fuel to burn. Granted, its fine fuels; it’s not heavy fuels — but nevertheless, we’ve seen quite a number of wildfires.”

However, as the USDA expert continues to explain, the incoming rain in the Southeast will hopefully cull some, but not all, of those concerns.

“Until we get a good soaking rain — and what happens later this week may not be enough in some areas to really tamp down the wildfire threat — we will continue to be concerned about these autumn wildfires, especially in some of the forested areas like the Southern Appalachians,” he said.

So far this year, 50,000 wildfires have burned more than two million acres across the country.

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