Two small wildfires in California's wine country this week could be a harbinger of a nasty summer fire season across the West.
Officials with the National Interagency Fire Center said Wednesday a dry winter and predicted warming trend mean the potential for significant fire activity will be above normal in the West Coast states, the Southwest, and portions of Idaho and Montana.
The national fire agency in Boise, Idaho, issued its first 2013 fire outlook extending through the summer months.
Ed Delgado, manager of the center's predictive services unit, says fire season in Southwest states like Arizona and New Mexico likely will start soon and quickly escalate until the July monsoon season.
Delgado says the rest of the country is expected to experience normal fire conditions, though rains in the South mean below-normal danger.