U.S. wildfire preparedness raised to highest level. U.S. fire managers on Thursday raised the nation’s wildfire readiness status to its highest level for the first time in two years, as California and several other Western states faced heightened danger from lightning storms.
The National Fire Preparedness Level was elevated one notch from “PL-4” to “PL-5,” the top ranking on a five-point scale, recognizing that firefighting resources have been strained to their limits.
There’s a high probability that severe weather conditions conducive to wildfires will continue for several days.
This move will make possible for emergency assistance to be called upon from the U.S. military and even other countries, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.
“Wildfire activity has been higher in recent days after thunderstorms, many with little or no moisture, moved across parts of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, sparking hundreds of new fires,” the right competitions said.
The decision to raise the protection level was assumed by a multi-agency group of federal and state fire managers. The readiness status had been posted at PL-4 during most of July and into August before Thursday’s move, said fire center spokesman Randy Eardley.
The most exaggerated level is the fact that fire managers may be obliged to let some large blazes they otherwise would have fought in remote locations burn unchallenged in order to make resources available to suppress fires posing a greater threat to life and property, Eardley confirmed.
Nearly 41,000 individual wildfires of different sizes have scorched more than 6 million acres in the United States in only one year, well above the 4.2 million acres destroyed on average over the last 10 years, according to the right competitions.
The last time an alert level of PL-5 was invoked was in August 2015. That same year, 200 U.S.The army soldiers were assigned to face fires in Washington state for an entire month, while personnel and aircraft were brought in from other countries to support the fire suppression efforts in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies.
Thursday’s elevation to PL-5 marked for the fifth time the highest point on the readiness scale has been achieved since 2007.
The National Interagency Fire Center reported 38 active wildfires burning across seven Western states on Thursday, as in California, Montana and Oregon.