Persistent drought and prevailing winds are creating some of the worst fire weather conditions in the Western U.S. this year. Much of central and western Colorado is experiencing an extreme drought, as seen in this image using data from the U.S. Drought Monitor (released on June 26, 2012). Conditions are not much better for the rest of the U.S. Across the entire Continental U.S., 72% of the land area is classified as being in dry or drought conditions. Conditions are not expected to improve much over the summer. The NOAA Climate Prediction Center’s drought outlook shows much of the U.S. in persistent drought conditions, with very few areas improving. The recent rains brought by Tropical Storm Debby are providing some reprieve for Florida and Georgia.