New drought model has several North Dakota agencies on high alert

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Several North Dakota agencies received a long-term outlook regarding fire conditions — and they say it’s a bit concerning.

The North Dakota Department of Emergency Services says in the short term, the lower-than-average temperatures are good.

But in the long term, experts are predicting lower precipitation and above average temperatures.

And with the entire state in some form of drought and experiencing a lack of snow, it’s creating a receptive fuel bed.

“When we look at all those things, kind of put all those things together it kind of tells us that we’re going to have bad days and rapid-fire growth. And that’s what we’ve seen when we’ve coupled in wind events and some of these drier masses that have come in,” explained Ryan Melin, the Fire Manager with ND Forest Service.

Melin says they also track two things: the burning index and the energy release component, which he says have both been historically high since January.

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