May 3—CHEYENNE — Recent record levels of rain and snow in southeast
After recent rainfall in the region, which followed a historic snowstorm in mid-March, drought conditions have improved substantially. While all of
"The combination of that big snowfall, most of which melted and went into the ground because the soil really wasn't frozen that much, then this very nice rain this week, I would say that in terms of both water supply and certainly forage growth, it's pretty positive over in this corner of the state," said
For ranchers in the southeast region of the state, the grass supply should be good with calving season about 70% complete in
"For those ensuing two periods there, the May, June, July, and the June, July, August, you're looking at 40% or so chance of below normal precipitation, and on the temperature side, that's even better chances, and that's a lot stronger signal," Bergantino said. "Looking out through October, November, December, it's looking like better-than-normal chances for above-normal temperatures."
Meanwhile, several other parts of
"That big March storm really help things out, and then what we've been getting gradually over the time following has helped keep things that way, but in
Moisture levels will be key for ranchers moving forward, Magagna said, though the last few weeks have provided a boost regardless of what Mother Nature brings next.
"People are going to have a reasonably good grass supply to start out," Magagna said. "How long it lasts and how much it dries up later in the summer is going to depend on whether we get any additional moisture, but if you can make the grass grow, then you've got something to work with, even though the condition of it might get drier and not be as high quality as you'd like to see. But at least you've got something there."
Risks remain heading into wildfire season
While drought conditions have improved in many parts of
"Rule of thumb, in
However, every year brings a different level of risk to various parts of the state. Schultz said national experts have described southwestern
"It's not to say that they won't have any fire occurrence, but it's very unlikely that they'll be receiving another
People often play a role in causing massive wildfires, as Schultz noted roughly nine out of 10 wildfires — and about eight of 10 in
The risk of fall wildfires will also depend on how the summer months go in the area, Bergantino noted.
"The problem is if you get good precipitation in the spring, so you get that vegetation growing, and then everything just sort of shuts off, then you got all those ripe fuels sitting there," he said.
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