Created: 06/30/2014 6:35 PM
By: Stu Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
It looks like monsoon season is right around the corner and relief in sight for New Mexico’s dangerously dry forests and dehydrated farmlands.
National Weather Service meteorologists are watching a cold front blasting toward the Rio Grande Valley from the Eastern Plains, but there’s something even bigger developing.
“At the same time we’re starting to see moisture coming up from Mexico toward southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico through the course of this week,” said senior meteorologist Chuck Jones. “We could actually see moisture coming in from a couple of different directions and the result may be the onset of the monsoon period.”
That’s great news for the people who fight forest fires, like Sandoval County Fire Chief Joe Gober.
“Once they get into this condition it doesn’t take much to start a fire,” Gober said while yanking on dry branches and needles on a juniper tree in the Sandias.
“Just a spark in the dry grass will get going and once the grass fire starts it’ll run very quickly and get into our surrounding areas and off we go," he said. "Then the brush and small trees will burn and the taller trees will eventually catch fire, too. We call them ladder fuels.”
Jones warns about dry lightning, especially at the beginning of monsoon season when thunderstorms don’t always bring rain. They start many fires in the arid Southwest.