BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S. wildfire officials expecting increased fire activity and more demand for firefighters have raised the national preparedness to level 4, unusual for June.
The National Interagency Fire Center raised the level on Tuesday and says it's the second earliest it reached that level on the 1-5 scale since 1990.
It's also only the fourth time in the last 20 years to reach that level in June.
Officials say more than 8,700 wildland firefighters are currently battling 47 large wildfires that have consumed more than 800 square miles.
Wildfire officials say much of the U.S. West is in a drought with a challenging wildfire season ahead.