Top federal and state fire managers say the National Fire Preparedness Level will be raised to its highest point Friday afternoon.
The National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group made the announcement Thursday, saying the jump to Preparedness Level 5 reflects a high degree of wildfire activity and that further assistance from the military and international resources may be considered and requested.
The group says wildfire activity has escalated in recent days after thunderstorms, many with little or no moisture, moved across parts of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, sparking hundreds of new fires.
To date, 40,845 wildfires have burned over 6 million acres in the United States this year, which is below the ten-year average for number of fires but above the ten-year average for acres burned.
The last time the National Preparedness Level was raised to 5 was on August 13, 2015.