Caifornia Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory

The Southern California Geographic Area Coordination Center has issued a Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory for the central and southern areas of California due to a heavier than usual grass crop brought on by above average winter rains. Because of the vegetation and climate in Southern California it seems like we hear similar warnings often — heavy rains bring lots of flashy grass fuels, and a dry winter results in low fuel moistures. An average winter can mean typical fire potential, which in this area can still mean large devastating wildfires. But as we often say, the most important factor that affects the number of acres burned is the weather during the fire season.

Below is an excerpt from the Advisory. Following that is the entire document.


“Due to the heavy winter rains, a significant grass crop has developed across much of California in the recent months. These light, flashy fuels have now cured across most of the southern and central portions of the state, which has led to a significant increase in fire activity across much of the Southern California Geographic Area. Despite the volatility of these grass fires, the heavier fuels are less supportive of fire as moisture levels in the larger diameter materials is near normal for this time of year. In addition, live fuel moisture remains above average in many areas. Therefore, while significant acreage consumption will continue to occur on future fires within the grassy fuel beds, large fires among the heavier fuels are less likely.”

Fuels And Fire Behavior Advisory SoCal

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Ken.
Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Fuels and fire behavior advisory for the south

One of the Predictive Services offices, it is unclear which one, distributed this advisory. Our opinion is that when someone provides technical advice, or suggests that others take action or modify their behavior, they should be accountable.

****Predictive Services

Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory
Southern Area
Southern Appalachian Mountains
October 7-21, 2016

Subject: Increasing Fire Danger in area of Hurricane Matthew subsidence

wildfire fuels advisory

Discussion: An area of exceptional drought with Energy Release Component values above the 90th percentile currently exists over an area covering a large portion of the Southern Area. With the passage of Hurricane Matthew along the east coast relative humidity values are forecast to drop into the teens over this area. There will also be a high likelihood of gusty winds, especially along the western face of the Appalachian Mountains.

Difference from normal conditions: The area of subsidence associated with Hurricane Matthew will exacerbate the already dry environment and move ERC values over a large area above the 97th percentile over the next 10 days.

Concerns to Firefighters and the Public: Any fire in this area will be very resistant to control efforts. Expect complete consumption of fuels down to mineral soil or rock, frequent torching, and increased spotting. Fire intensities will be higher than normal which will likely preclude direct attack of fires. Expect the need for extended mop-up. Expect an increase in long duration fires; with heavy fuels being available to burn and leaves coming off of trees expect a higher than normal probability of re-burn on contained fires.

Mitigation Measures: Do not expect any fire to be routine. Be prepared to utilize indirect tactics with extended mop-up. Utilize aerial supervision to help direct crews and keep them informed on fire behavior. Ensure that LCES is in place before engaging on any fire. Remember to STOP, THINK and TALK before you ACT…actively look for ways to minimize risk to firefighters in what is forecast to be a period of very high fire danger.

Area of Concern: Alabama, Mississippi, Central and north Georgia, Tennessee and the mountain areas of Western South Carolina and North Carolina.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Perry.

Fuels and fire behavior advisory

A Predictive Services unit wrote this Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory — it’s not clear which one, regional or national. It was distributed by the National Interagency Coordination Center. Our view is that if you are distributing an important directive and calling for action, the person, or at least the unit, that analyzed the data and developed the recommendations should be identified. This is not the place for anonymity.

Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory

Southeastern Halves of New England/Mid-Atlantic States

April 24, 2016

Subject: Fuel conditions/elevated significant fire potential across the southeastern halves of New England and Mid-Atlantic behavior Fuels advisory

Discussion: Short to medium range drought developed across the southeastern halves of New England and the Mid-Atlantic States through the second half of March into April 2016. Calculated 1000 hour fuel moisture levels at many RAWS across these areas were below 17% and 100 hour fuels below 10%. NFDRS Energy Release Components and Burning Indices were well above the 90th percentile as well. These conditions have led to periods of above normal fire potential across portions of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic late March through April of 2016 during dry and windy periods.

Fire behavior reports from fires occurring near and within the areas of concern through mid-April indicated rapid rates of spread. Abnormal nighttime fire activity was also reported on some of the fires creating suppression problems and increased fire size. While the main driver of fire occurrence and behavior was fine fuels, 100 and 1000 hour fuels were also receptive to ignition and some consumption, leading to more intense and persistent fires. Until rainfall increases over these areas, elevated fire potential and problematic fire behavior is likely during any dry and windy periods into May 2016.

Difference from normal conditions: Calculated NFDRS indices and fuel moistures from various RAWS across the areas of concern were at or approaching extreme levels or the 97th percentile. Prolonged periods of minimum RH levels were observed through mid-April significantly drying out fuels.

Concerns to Firefighters and the Public:

  • Anticipate any ignition in flashy fine fuels to burn readily and move rapidly during periods of dry and windy weather conditions.
  • Anticipate heavier fuel involvement where 1000 and 100 hour fuel moistures have dropped to critical levels.

Mitigation Measures:

  • Make certain firefighters have good anchor points and keep one foot in the black.
  • Ensure LCES is in place on every fire before engaging. Lookouts should have a good understanding of the effects of weather changes and topography on fire behavior.
  • Become familiar with local fuel conditions and current fire danger indices, and their implications for fire behavior.

Area of Concern: Southeastern Halves of New England/Mid-Atlantic States.

Southern California fuels and fire behavior advisory

One of the Predictive Services offices issued a Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory for southern California. In this new one, most of Northern California has been temporarily removed due to the unseasonably cool and wet weather pattern. With the forecast for the weather pattern to make a dramatic change mid-week with strong high pressure developing over California for rapid drying/warming into the weekend, they anticipate Northern CA will once again warrant an advisory in the next 1-2 weeks.


Predictive Services

“Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory
Southern California
June 25, 2013

Subject: Low live and dead fuel moistures, along with persistent drought have created the potential for active to extreme fire behavior in Southern California.

Discussion: All of California is experiencing drought conditions. Effects of lower than normal live and dead fuel moistures and observed fire behavior for 2013 are the focus of this advisory. Note that most of Northern CA was included in the previous advisory but has been temporarily removed due to forecasted widespread wetting rain. It is anticipated that area will warrant an advisory in the next couple weeks.

Difference From Normal Conditions: Drought conditions ranging from abnormally dry to severe exist and are expected to persist or intensify. The entire area is deficient in rainfall and snow pack, resulting in fuels that are 4-8 weeks ahead of normal drying/curing rates.

Concerns to Firefighters:

  • Energy Release Component (ERC) values at numerous weather stations are well above normal and many are at record maximums. Expect increased fire intensity and spread rates in these areas. Early season extreme fire behavior has been observed especially in brush fuel types. Anticipate increased spread rates, spotting, and active night time burning.
  • The combination of persistent drought and record-low rainfall and snowpack amounts has led to very low live and dead fuel moistures. Low 1000-hour fuel moistures have been evidenced by complete consumption of dead fuels on recent fires. Live fuel moistures for Chamise have already reached critical levels of 60% or less in many areas. Expect fires to ignite easier and spread faster. Anticipate higher resistance to control in all fuel types.
  • Active fire behavior can extend well into the night and early morning hours even with moderate RH recovery. Already this year, Southern California has experienced large fire activity and multiple team deployments. It is important to be mindful of and manage fatigue for all resources. Everyone, every day, returns home safely.

Mitigation Measures:

  • Local and inbound fire personnel need to be aware that fire behavior is exceeding normal expectations for this time of the year. Local briefings need to be thorough and highlight specific fire environment conditions. These include but are not limited to local weather forecasts, Pocket Cards, ERC’s, live and dead fuel moistures, and special fuel conditions such as mortality, Sudden Oak Death and frost killed brush, etc.
  • Suppression actions need to be based on good anchor points, escape routes, and safety zones. Remember LCES. Experienced lookouts are essential under these conditions.
  • Base all actions on current and expected behavior of the fire. Augment initial attack resources as incident activity dictates.
  • Review the most current Southern California 7-day Significant Fire Potential along with Daily, Monthly and Seasonal Outlooks at:

Area of Concern: The area of concern is the Southern California geographic area with the exception of 4 PSA’s: Central Valley, Central Mojave, Eastern Desert, and Lower Deserts. A map showing the areas of concern described in this advisory can be found at: National Fuel Advisories

Issued: June 25, 2013 (Note this advisory will be in effect for 14 days and will be reviewed/updated at that time.)”

Two fuels and fire behavior advisories for Colorado

The Rocky Mountain Geographic Area and the Upper Colorado River Fire Management Unit on the Colorado Western Slope issued two Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisories today. Below are the complete texts of both:


Predictive Services

“Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory
Western Slope of Colorado

Subject: Western Colorado is in the third year of drought. The situation is predicted to persist or intensify through July. There is increased risk of large fire development and intense fire behavior. Dry, heavy fuels at higher elevations could pose a greater risk of active fire behavior.

Discussion: The wet spring pattern that occurred during April and May has provided a brief reprieve. Live and dead fuel moistures are quickly returning to a condition that will support large fire growth.

Forecasts do not offer the prospect of live or dead fuels conditions improving through July.

Difference from normal conditions: Fuels are described by fire managers as being deceptively green. The visual greenness being observed can lessen the sense of fire potential. Live fuels, which had shown some improvement from late spring precipitation, are drying. On the Western Slope of Colorado, 100FM fuels are setting historically low values for the date, nearing the 3rd percentile, and moving into the range associated with historic large fires. Long-term drying has made large, higher elevation fuels, available as well.

Concerns to Firefighters and the Public:

  • Recent large fires on the Front Range and Western Slope have displayed intense and/or extreme fire behavior.
  • Long-range spotting, fire whorls, extreme fireline intensity and high winds have been observed and will continue to be control problems on both wildland and urban interface incidents.
  • Local preparedness planning and cooperation should be on-going.
  • Management of suppression resources rest and recovery as activity increases.

Mitigation Measures: Strategies for dealing with each of the specific circumstances listed above include using Predictive Service¡¦s forecasts of higher potential for large fire occurrence, rapid initial attack in those high risk areas, and daily fire and fuels briefings to suppression personnel.
Continue reading “Two fuels and fire behavior advisories for Colorado”

Another Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory — this time, Arizona and New Mexico

Fuels and fire behavior advisoriesOne of the Predictive Services offices has issued another Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory. The last one, issued June 10, was for California. This new one, dated June 16, is for portions of Arizona and New Mexico.

The advisory does not mention the “Southwest Monsoon,” an event that typically starts in early July and generally begins to draw the curtain on the fire season in Arizona, New Mexico, West Texas, southern Utah and southwestern Colorado.

Below is the full text of the advisory.


“Fuels and Fire Behavior AdvisoryPredictive Services

Arizona and New Mexico

June 16, 2013

Subject: Persistent multi-year drought across much of New Mexico and Arizona has dropped fuel moistures to critically low levels in the large dead and live foliar fuels. These critically low fuel moistures increase available fuel loading which contributes to and supports active crown fire in timber fuels when critical fire weather is present.

Discussion: The multi-year drought has reduced the fine fuel loading across most of the region so the focus for this advisory will be the timber fuels within the region.

Difference from normal conditions: Drought creates more available fuel in timber fuel types which will increase fire intensities, crown fire potential and difficulty of control for fire suppression resources. Short duration rain events provide only short term fuel moisture improvement in timber litter fuels (1, 10, and 100 hour dead fuels). Fuels rebound quickly to previous dryness levels. Short duration rain events provide no fuel moisture recovery in large dead and live foliar fuels.

Concerns to Firefighters and the Public:

  • Surface fire will quickly transition to crown fire and only requires low to moderate surface fire intensity to transition.
  • Active/running crown fire has produced long range spotting up to one mile under the influence of an unstable atmosphere.
  • Active fire behavior can extend well into night and early morning hours even with moderate RH recovery.
  • Thunderstorm activity will create a mosaic pattern of surface fuel moistures. Surface fire intensity and fire behavior may change abruptly when fires cross these boundaries of moist and dry surface fuels.

Mitigation Measures:

  • Local briefings need to be thorough and highlight specific fire environment conditions. These include but are not limited to local weather forecasts, Pocket Cards, ERC’s, live and dead fuel moistures, and special fuel conditions such as drought and insect mortality
  • Lookouts, both on the ground and in the air, can help identify the initiation and location of crown fire. They can also provide the location of resultant spot fires from active crown fire.
  • Firefighters should acknowledge that fire growth and fire behavior they encounter this year may exceed anything they have experienced before due to the drought factor. Normal strategies and tactics may need to be adjusted to account for the drought factor.

Area of Concern: Please reference the map posted on the National Fuel Advisory Page.

The timber fuels within this area of concern are the target for this fire behavior advisory.”


(End of text)


Thanks go out to Ken