2012 was an extremely difficult wildfire year not only in central Wyoming, but statewide.

Multiple wildfires raged throughout the state last year, including the 15,500-acre Sheep Herder Hill Fire that destroyed 37 homes atop Casper Mountain.

Natrona County fire inspector Dave Baker says he doesn’t expect 2013 to be any easier on firefighters.

“We’re still going to continue into drought conditions and it’s going to cause another bad fire season,” Baker said. “We’ll know more once we get through the spring, but, currently, talking with the state and stuff, they’re forecasting another bad year.”

Baker says December was an unpredictable and busy month for Casper-area firefighters. He says, though temperatures have been much cooler, conditions throughout Natrona County remain very dry.

“Before we got this last snowfall, our department and, I do believe, the city of Casper went out on a couple of grassfires,” Baker said. “We have not ended our grassfire season yet – it has just slowed down.”

According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s National Drought Mitigation Center, large portions of central and southern Wyoming are experiencing extreme, or "D3," drought conditions. Portions of western Wyoming are experiencing exceptional, or "D4," drought conditions.