August 14, 2023 — Following an unusually wet winter and a spring marked by consistent rain and thunderstorms, Nevada’s wildfire season has been largely delayed this year according to a report by the Sparks Tribune.
The Great Basin’s fire activity is subdued compared to typical years, with only small fires reported daily at lower elevations. To date, Nevada has seen 193 fires consuming just over 574 acres. Notable among these were the Little Redrock and Cowboy fires outside Las Vegas and smaller blazes in Lander and Nye counties. About a quarter of these fires were ignited by human activity.
The high moisture content in burnable materials has enabled effective control of these fires.
Drought conditions in the western US are improving. The U.S. Drought Monitor indicates that the only lingering drought areas in the Great Basin are in Southern Nevada and parts of southern Utah. Yet, approximately 1.71 million Nevadans continue to live in drought-affected areas. The Tribune writes that this yer’s winter might see a reduction in the drought severity in Southern Nevada due to predicted El Niño conditions. Characterized by weakened trade winds and warmer waters near North America’s West Coast, El Niño episodes often lead to wetter weather patterns in the Desert Southwest, as described by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.
In contrast, Southern Nevada is bracing for a subdued monsoon season. According to Predictive Services, this year’s monsoon activity is expected to be sporadic and weaker than usual, primarily due to a high-pressure system located west of the Four Corners area.