Outlook for wildfire potential through October, 2015

The Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center has issued their Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for July through October. 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, the three west coast states and the western portions of Idaho, Nevada, and Montana will have above normal wildfire activity into October.

Here are the highlights from their outlook.



Wildfire Outlook, July, 2015

– Higher than usual temperatures; minimal summer precipitation; and already dry fuels will combine to continue above normal potential across most of the pacific coast states, as well as the northern Rocky Mountains and northern and western Great Basin.

– Fuels that were exposed to drying earlier than usual as well as hot and dry conditions throughout May and June have led to above normal potential throughout Alaska.

– Abundant spring and early summer precipitation and moist fuels will alleviate much of the fire concern for the Rocky Mountains, Southwest, and areas east of the Mississippi.


Wildfire Outlook, August, 2015

– Much of the above normal area from July will linger into August, with the exception of some of northern California. Above normal conditions will spread slightly westward to encompass more of the Great Basin.

– Most of the areas experiencing below normal potential will return to a more normal condition, with only some of the Central Rockies and Ohio Valley below normal.

September through October

Wildfire Outlook, September October, 2015

– Almost all of the above normal potential will return to normal through this period, leaving only far southern California as above normal.

– Below normal fall conditions will develop across inland portions of the southeast.


UPDATE: And, as a bonus, here is the Drought Monitor that was released July 2, 2015. Portions of California, Nevada, and Oregon are in Extreme or Exceptional Drought. Nine of the eleven western states have areas in Severe Drought or worse.

Drought Monitor June 30, 2015


Record heat in the west may be followed by dry lightning

lightning near hot springs, sd

Lightning near Hot Springs, South Dakota, July 23, 2012. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

(UPDATED at 3:46 p.m. MT, June 24, 2015)

Isolated Thunderstorms

Isolated dry thunderstorms (with little or no rain) are predicted for some areas in northeastern California, western Nevada, and central Oregon Friday and into early Saturday morning. Land managers are worried about the possibility of new lightning-caused wildfires.


(Originally published at 9:59 a.m. MT, June 24, 2015)

Forecasters with the National Weather Service have published Special Weather Statements with warnings about extreme heat and lightning predicted for northern California, Oregon, and Washington beginning Thursday and through the weekend.

This interesting period will start with near-record, and record-setting heat on Thursday and Friday with high temperatures of 100 to 112 degrees in the valleys. Thunderstorms will be thrown into the equation starting on Friday, initially with little rainfall, raising the possibility for dry lightning. Later in the weekend there will be more moisture with the storms.