(AP) - Alaska authorities are predicting this year's fire season won't hit as hard as last year, though they did admit there is still time for conditions to change.
Tim Mowry, the Division of Forestry Public Information Officer, says that there is a misconception about snow packs melting being the key factor in determining when the fire season starts.
While that pack *is a factor, Mowry says fire season is actually dependent on overall precipitation during the months of April and May after the snow has melted.
Fire seasons in Alaska have been starting earlier and lasting longer from year to year, prompting a statewide push to begin firefighters' annual training and prep work earlier as well.
A new aspect to the training this year is a gel–based water enhancer, called 'Blaze Tamer'.
The Blaze Tamer is going to be tested in Palmer before it's used statewide.