Cool, damp weather brings relief to US wildfire outlook

In this Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017 photo, trees charred by a fire stand in the foreground in from of North Sister and Middle Sister in the background as seen from the drive into the Boy Scouts of America Oregon Trail Council's Camp Melakwa in the Willamette National Forest near McKenzie Bridge, Ore. (Andy Nelson/The Register-Guard via AP)

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Wildfire forecasters say cool, damp weather has brought relief to the northwestern U.S., northern Idaho and western Montana after a trying summer, but the fall fire season is getting underway in Southern California.

The National Interagency Fire Center said Sunday the risk of big wildfires will be above average for Southern California through December.

The risk is also high in central and northeastern Montana, which is gripped by a severe drought.

The center’s monthly forecast calls for average risk of big wildfires over much of the nation through the end of the year, although parts of the Midwest and South could face elevated danger.

More than 13,200 square miles (34,000 square kilometers) have burned nationwide this year, putting 2017 on pace to be one of the worst in a decade.