Wildland fire potential, July through October

On July 1 the Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center issued their Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for July through October, 2016. The data represents the cumulative forecasts of the ten Geographic Area Predictive Services Units and the National Predictive Services Unit. Below are highlights from the outlook.

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“During late June and July significant wildland fire potential usually transitions from the Southwest and southern California northward into the remainder of the western United States. The timing of this transition should be near normal; however, some areas will experience an increased potential for significant fires due in large part to high fine fuel loading. These areas include the northern and western Great Basin, northern California and some of the finer fuel regime areas of Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas. Additionally the Southwest will continue to see elevated significant wildland fire potential through July as monsoonal rainfall may not be as consistent as usual. Southern California also will continue to have elevated significant fire potential throughout the period driven by long term drought and vegetation mortality. Alaska fire potential will remain near normal with the northern portions of the state below normal. Alaska usually begins to transition to late season conditions in July and August.

wildfire potential August 2016

The same heavy fine fuel crops that are driving the above normal forecast for July will continue to present above normal potential into August. Forecasted normal conditions in the higher elevations for August, however, mean that a number of significant wildland fires are likely to develop in these areas throughout the West. Fire season in the western U.S. is typically at its peak in July and August and this year should be no different with the potential for significant fires across the spectrum of fuel regimes all indicating at least normal levels of fire activity.

wildfire potential Sept and Oct 2016

In September and October the northern tier of states should see a rapid return to normal wildfire potential. The focus for activity should transition to California. Long term drought is expected to remain in place and fall conditions typically bring an increase in offshore wind events that often drive fire activity for the state.”

Wildfire potential, June through September

On June 1 the Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center issued their Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for June through September, 2016. The data represents the cumulative forecasts of the ten Geographic Area Predictive Services Units and the National Predictive Services Unit.

If their forecast is correct, Alaska, the Northwest, the East, the Central states, and Rocky Mountain areas will avoid unusually high wildfire activity. Over the four-month period above normal wildfire potential should move from Arizona and New Mexico into California, Nevada, and southwest Idaho, and remain high in Hawaii for the entire period.

Wildfire Potential July 2016 Wildfire Potential Aug-Sep 2016

Here are the highlights of the written report issued May 1 (which we have reformatted a little for easier reading). More details are available at the link above.

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Eastern States

“Conditions across the Eastern States have mitigated enough thanks to timely moisture and the onset of green-up that these areas no longer present a concern for above normal significant wildland fire potential.

Alaska

For June and early July two primary areas of fire activity are the focus. First, Alaska has begun to see significant fire activity. Recent moisture over the state has dried out, triggering an increase in fire activity. Some of these fires are holdover fires from the 2015 fire season. Alaska will continue to see normal levels of significant fire activity into July.

Southwest Area

Second, the Southwest Area enters its primary fire season in June and July. This area has a robust fine fuel crop; however, lingering moisture has largely kept significant fires at bay. As seasonal drying progresses south of the Mogollon Rim, expect above normal levels of significant fire potential to remain dominant through at least early July, especially in fine fuel regimes.

Great Basin and California

Heavy and continuous fine fuel loadings are expected across the Great Basin and lower elevation areas of southern and central California. Dry and windy periods will increase fire activity and the potential for fires to become large and grow rapidly. Fire activity will begin in June and July and transition northward throughout the Outlook period. Warm conditions have depleted much of the mountain snowpack. Remaining snowpack should continue to melt off but remain long enough for a normal to slightly delayed onset of higher elevation fire activity. Nearly all higher elevation timbered areas are expected to see normal fire activity throughout the Outlook period.

Other areas

Most other areas of the U.S. are expected to see normal significant fire potential throughout the summer fire season. It is important to note that normal fire activity still represents a number of significant fires occurring and acres burned.”


As a bonus, here is some additional weather data:

Continue reading “Wildfire potential, June through September”

Wildfire potential, May through August

On May 1 the Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center issued their Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for May through August, 2016. The data represents the cumulative forecasts of the ten Geographic Area Predictive Services Units and the National Predictive Services Unit.

If their forecast is correct, the Northwest and Rocky Mountain areas will avoid unusually high wildfire activity while Hawaii and some locations in the Southwest, California, Nevada and southern Idaho could be busy in June, July, and August.

UPDATE May 2, 2016. NIFC took the unusual step of producing a video version of the outlook. It was released today.

Here are the highlights of the written report issued May 1. Following that are maps for June through August.

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“Conditions in the mid-Atlantic and Appalachian region were dry enough through April to see increased fire activity at the end of the month. Greenup and increases in precipitation will decrease much potential through May.

“Heavy fine fuel loadings are expected across the Southwest and Great Basin, and lower elevation areas of southern and central California. This will likely increase fire activity in these areas throughout fire season especially when associated with dry and windy periods.  Fire activity will begin in May and June across the Southwest and transition northward as usual throughout the June and July.

“Warm April conditions depleted some of the mountain snowpack. Remaining snowpack should continue to melt off but remain long enough for a normal to slightly delayed onset of higher elevation fire activity. Nearly all higher elevation timbered areas are expected to see normal fire activity throughout the Outlook period.

“Poor seasonal snowpack and early snowmelt in South Central Alaska will likely to lead to above normal conditions in May, especially in the populated corridors.

“Significant moisture across the Central U.S. is expected to produce below normal significant fire potential, especially coupled with green-up occurring throughout this area.

“Most other areas of the U.S. are expected to see normal significant fire potential throughout the summer fire season. It is important to note that normal fire activity still represents a number of significant fires occurring and acres burned.”

Outlook-June

Outlook_July-Aug

Wildfire potential for April through July

On April 1 the Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center issued their Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for April through July, 2016. The data represents the cumulative forecasts of the ten Geographic Area Predictive Services Units and the National Predictive Services Unit.

If their predictions are correct, elevated wildfire potential will be migrating toward the southwest during the four-month period, while it is expected to remain above normal in Hawaii through July.

Here are the highlights from their outlook. Click on the images to see larger versions.

April
wildfire potential April 2016

  • Above normal significant fire potential continues across the southern Plains to the Upper Midwest; the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina; the Hawaiian Islands; and will develop in south central Alaska.
  • Below normal significant fire potential will remain across the central Gulf Coast and Puerto Rico.
  • Significant fire potential is normal across the remainder of the U.S., though the potential for pre-greenup fire activity increases through early spring.

May
wildfire potential May 2016

  • Above normal significant fire potential will return to normal across the southern Plains through the Upper Midwest.
  • Above normal potential will develop in the fine fuel areas of the southern Southwest. Above normal fire potential will continue across the Hawaiian Islands and south central Alaska.
  • Below normal significant fire potential will continue across the central Gulf Coast, central Georgia, upstate South Carolina, and eastern Puerto Rico.
  • Significant fire potential will remain normal across the remainder of the U.S.

June and July
wildfire potential June-July 2016

  • Above normal significant fire potential will continue across the southern Southwest and expand into Texas and southern Nevada. Above normal potential will also develop in northwestern Nevada and northeastern California as well as the fine fuel areas of southern California. An area of above normal potential will develop in Florida.
  • Significant fire potential will remain normal across the remainder of the U.S.

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A bonus: the drought monitor, temperature/precipitation outlooks, and the southern California outlook.

Continue reading “Wildfire potential for April through July”

Wildfire potential March through June, 2016

On March 1 the Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center issued their Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for March through June, 2016. The data represents the cumulative forecasts of the ten Geographic Area Predictive Services Units and the National Predictive Services Unit.

If their predictions are correct, some areas in the eastern U.S., especially the midwest, will experience above normal activity off and on through June.

Here are the highlights from their outlook. Click on the images to see larger versions.

March

march wildfire outlook

  • Above normal significant fire potential from the southern Plains to the Great Lakes due to dry conditions, especially during windy periods.
  • Above normal fire potential will continue across the Hawaiian Islands associated with long term drought.
  • Below normal significant fire potential will persist across most of the Gulf and East Coasts and most of Puerto Rico.
  • Significant fire potential is normal across the remainder of the U.S., which indicates little significant fire potential.

April

April wildfire outlook

  • Above normal significant fire potential will expand across the northern Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes states with increasing dryness in these areas.
  • Above normal fire potential will continue across the Hawaiian Islands and develop over south central Alaska.
  • Below normal significant fire potential will decrease to just coastal areas of the central Gulf and Atlantic coasts and Puerto Rico.
  • Significant fire potential will remain normal across the remainder of the U.S., though potential for pre-greenup fire activity increases through early spring.

May through June

may june wildfire outlook

  • Above normal significant fire potential will develop in the Southwest and continue across Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii and Alaska.
  • Fire potential remains below normal along the MidAtlantic coast and Puerto Rico, and drops to below normal in Louisiana and southeastern Texas.

Wildfire potential February through May

On February 1 the Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center issued their Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for February through May, 2016. The data represents the cumulative forecasts of the ten Geographic Area Predictive Services Units and the National Predictive Services Unit.

If their forecasts are accurate it looks like mild fire potential until April and May when conditions could become more favorable to the spread of fires in the Midwest and south-central Alaska. Hawaii could become busy starting in February or March.

Here are the highlights from their outlook.

February

February wildfire potential

  • Below normal significant fire potential will persist across most of the Southeastern U.S., mid-Atlantic and Puerto Rico as El Nino storm systems continue to bring significant moisture to most of these areas.
  • Significant fire potential is normal across the remainder of the U.S., which indicates little significant fire potential.

March

March wildfire potential

  • Below normal significant fire potential will continue across most of the Southeastern U.S., mid-Atlantic and Puerto Rico as El Nino continues to bring significant moisture.
  • Above normal fire potential will also develop across the Hawaiian Islands thanks to long term drought.
  • Significant fire potential will remain normal across the remainder of the U.S., though potential for pre-greenup fire activity increases through early spring.

April and May

April May wildfire potential

  • Above normal significant fire potential will develop across the Great Lakes into the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys where less precipitation has occurred.
  • An area of above normal fire potential is also likely to develop across south central Alaska because warm temperatures and rain have limited snowpack.
  • Above normal fire potential will continue across the Hawaiian Islands as drought persists. Below normal significant fire potential will continue across most of the Southeastern U.S. and Puerto Rico.
  • Significant fire potential continues normal across the remainder of the U.S.

In addition to NIFC’s outlook, here’s bonus #1: the Drought Monitor released January 28, 2016.

Drought Monitor 1-28-2016

Bonuses #2 and #3, 90-day temperature and precipitation outlooks:

 

90 day temperature outlook

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90 day precipitation outlook