“we’ve built a bomb”

Good story this morning (sub. req.) by Leslie Linthicum and Tania Soussan on fire danger in New Mexico:

Fire experts predicted an early and furious fire season in New Mexico and, boy, were they on target.

Already this season, a dozen big grass fires have burned more than 100,000 acres, including a scorcher in Colfax County last week that blackened 26,500 acres.

With a record dry winter following record wet weather last year, it’s no wonder the state is on fire.

“We built up these tall grasses and now we’ve got these hot, hot windy days,” said Joe Whitehead, a rangeland specialist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Portales.

“Basically, we’ve built a bomb,” he said.

Big time grass fires now, with the threat of a hot forest fire season in a month or two.