Above-normal, costly wildfire season forecast for the west

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California needs rain to help break a years-long drought, but some of the storms that could form this summer may spark more wildfires in the West.

More than 50 Western wildfires were caused by lightning since May 30, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Above-normal wildfire conditions are expected through at least September, the National Interagency Fire Center said.

In September and especially October, things will start to change and an increase moisture heading toward the wet season may help firefighters, but before then, the storms will cause more problems than help, AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said.

Dry thunderstorms will be a problem across the region.

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Above-normal, costly wildfire season forecast for the west
MT. HAMILTON, CA - JUNE 03: 3: Cal Fire firefighters walk through smoke during a live fire training on June 3, 2015 in Mt. Hamilton, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
MT. HAMILTON, CA - JUNE 03: Cal Fire firefighters listen to intstructions during a live fire training on June 3, 2015 in Mt. Hamilton, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
MT. HAMILTON, CA - JUNE 03: A Cal Fire firefighter practices extinguishing a grass fire during a live fire training on June 3, 2015 in Mt. Hamilton, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
MT. HAMILTON, CA - JUNE 03: A Cal Fire firefighter practices extinguishing a grass fire during a live fire training on June 3, 2015 in Mt. Hamilton, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
MT. HAMILTON, CA - JUNE 03: : A Cal Fire firefighter uses a drip torch to light dry grass on fire during a live fire training on June 3, 2015 in Mt. Hamilton, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
MT. HAMILTON, CA - JUNE 03: A Cal Fire firefighter uses a drip torch to light dry grass on fire during a live fire training on June 3, 2015 in Mt. Hamilton, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
MT. HAMILTON, CA - JUNE 03: Cal Fire firefighters march through a field of dry grass during a live fire training on June 3, 2015 in Mt. Hamilton, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
MT. HAMILTON, CA - JUNE 03: A Cal Fire firefighter uses a drip torch to light dry grass on fire during a live fire training on June 3, 2015 in Mt. Hamilton, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
MT. HAMILTON, CA - JUNE 03: A Cal Fire firefighter walks through smoke during a live fire training on June 3, 2015 in Mt. Hamilton, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
MT. HAMILTON, CA - JUNE 03: Cal Fire firefighters march through a field of dry grass during a live fire training on June 3, 2015 in Mt. Hamilton, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
MT. HAMILTON, CA - JUNE 03: 3: Cal Fire firefighters march through a field of dry grass during a live fire training on June 3, 2015 in Mt. Hamilton, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - MAY 27: A Cal Fire firefighter uses a hose during a training session on May 27, 2015 in Napa, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - MAY 27: Cal Fire firefighters roll up lengths of hose during a training session on May 27, 2015 in Napa, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - MAY 27: A Cal Fire firefighter rolls out a section of hose during a training session on May 27, 2015 in Napa, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - MAY 27: A Cal Fire firefighter uses a hose during a training session on May 27, 2015 in Napa, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - MAY 27: Cal Fire firefighters stand in line during a training session on May 27, 2015 in Napa, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - MAY 27: Cal Fire firefighters pull a hose during a training session on May 27, 2015 in Napa, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - MAY 27: Cal Fire firefighters use a hose during a training session on May 27, 2015 in Napa, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - MAY 27: Cal Fire firefighters roll up lengths of hose during a training session on May 27, 2015 in Napa, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - MAY 27: A Cal Fire firefighter uses a hose during a training session on May 27, 2015 in Napa, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
NAPA, CA - MAY 27: A Cal Fire firefighter uses a hose during a training session on May 27, 2015 in Napa, California. Cal Fire firefighters are training ahead of what is expected to be an explosive wildfire season as California pushes through its fourth year of severe drought. The state has had over 1,000 wildfires since the beginning of the year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CORRECTS LAST NAME TO SNYDER FROM SNYER In this Sunday, June 7, 2015 photo, smoke rises from the Bogus Creek Fire, one of two fires burning in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Alaska. Fire managers said Monday that weekend rain helped tamp down the fires which, together, total about 63 square miles. (Matt Snyder/Alaska Division of Forestry via AP)
A brush fire that broke out Saturday evening, April 18, 2015 burns in the Dam Prado Dam Flood Control Basin north of the city of Corona, Calif. Fire officials said some trees caught fire in the forested basin and grew to at least 75 acres. Firefighters were hampered by rough terrain in the area. (AP Photo/Dan Cole)
Grass smolders in a field next to the Tamiami Trail, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Miami. According to the Florida Forest Service, they and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue have been fighting the wildfire in Southwest Miami-Dade County, that has been burning since Sunday and prompting occasional road closures. It has affected more than 880 acres. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Smoke rises from a charred stand of melaleuca trees next to the Tamiami Trail, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Miami. According to the Florida Forest Service, they, and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, have been fighting the wildfire in Southwest Miami-Dade County, that has been burning since Sunday and prompting occasional road closures. It has affected more than 880 acres. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
WEED, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: A firefighter wipes his eye as he hoses down hot spots in the remains of a destroyed home on September 16, 2014 in Weed, California. Fueled by high winds, a fast-moving wildfire swept through the town of Weed yesterday afternoon, burning 100 structures that included the high school and a lumber mill. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
WEED, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Firefighters mop up hot spots in the remains of a destroyed home on September 16, 2014 in Weed, California. A fast moving wildfire fueled by high winds ripped through the town of Weed on the afternoon of September 15, burning 100 structures including the high school and lumber mill. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CAMP PENDLETON, CA - MAY 16: The Las Pulgas Fire lights the night on May 16, 2014 at Camp Pendleton, California. The fire is one of three large wildfires on Camp Pendleton that have scorched more than 22,000 acres. Firefighters have been battling 11 wildfires in San Diego County this week, including the fires on the Marine base. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN MARCOS, CA - MAY 15: A firefighter hoses flames at the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN MARCOS, CA - MAY 15: Flames spread at the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN MARCOS, CA - MAY 15: Flames spread near a firefighter at the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN MARCOS, CA - MAY 15: A firefighter pulls a hose in position while battling the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
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"They are dry because they are driven by mid- to upper-level moisture and not deep, low-level moist connection," Pastelok said. "Therefore, the base of these storms are higher than normal and precipitation evaporates before reaching the ground. However, you can still get lightning and the strikes are what ignites the fires and the wind kicked up by these storms helps spread the fires."

The Northwest will continue to see occasional upper-level systems come across and produce dry thunderstorms over the higher elevations through the rest of the month, Pastelok said.

"In July, Washington and southwestern Canada should be drier, but there can still be some of these upper-level systems rolling across Oregon, northern California and Idaho," he said. "This will most definitely trigger more fires."

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In the Southwest, there will not be much rain in June and July, Pastelok said. However, there could be some rain in August and September, but it may not help too much. Storms could again ignite spotty fires, Pastelok added.

The only thing that can save southern areas is tropical moisture from the eastern Pacific right now; this is a higher chance for Arizona and New Mexico, he said.

No matter how busy or slow the season may be, wildfire firefighting is a very dangerous operation.

"Wildfire firefighting is much more physically demanding then structural firefighting. For structural firefighting you are driven right up onto the scene and spend short but intense bursts of effort. Fighting wildfires often requires a good deal of hiking due to the remote nature of the great outdoors, and some fires require firefighters to be dropped in via parachute or helicopter to reach remote fires," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey, who is a Pennsylvania volunteer firefighter.

"Wildland firefighting is about removing fuels, by cutting a line in the fuels around the fire perimeter and back burning into the active fire. It has many intrinsic dangers, including getting burned over (when the fire front overruns firefighters), heat-related illness, falling trees and poisonous reptiles and insects," Duffey said.

A busy wildfire season may mean another costly year for the federal government.

The recent federal forecast indicated there is a 90 percent chance that this year's fire suppression costs - for the U.S. Forest Service - will be between $810 million and $1.62 billion, and that such efforts may cost the Interior Department between $281 million and $475 billion.

Fire suppression costs were $1.52 billion in 2014, the federal government said.

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