A prolonged drought and record-breaking temperatures have many Western states preparing for another active — and dangerous — wildfire season.
In some places, that season is already under way. Colorado had a deadly wildfire last month. Other Western states have reported hundreds of smaller fires.
Officials in California and other states say that grass, brush and forest didn't get the winter soakings that allows them to retain water — and put off fire. That could mean a busy wildfire season that normally doesn't kick in for much of the West until May or June.
Federal meteorologists say nearly all of the Southwest is experiencing drought. And that's coming off a year in which Arizona and New Mexico experienced their worst wildfires on record.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.