The Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center has issued their National Wildland Significant Fire Potential Outlook for October, 2011 through January, 2012. According to their prediction, most of the United States is in for a quiet autumn and early winter with the exception of the southeast.
According to NIFC, the primary factors influencing these outlooks are:
- La Niña: La Niña conditions have redeveloped, as evidenced by a marked cooling of the equatorial Pacific. It is not unusual to have a second La Niña after one of such magnitude as the 2010-11 event. However, the impacts may be greater given the degree of drought across much of the south central and southeastern U.S.
- Drought: Extreme to exceptional drought will persist across Texas, eastern and southern New Mexico, Oklahoma, southern Kansas, western Louisiana, Georgia and western South Carolina.
- Fuel Dryness: A significant change in fuel conditions occurred across much of the west in the latter part of September. Cooler temperatures and increasing humidity coupled with shorter days and burning periods caused indices and fuel moistures to dip to normal or below normal. Even with short warming and drying periods much of the West will not return to any significant conditions or level of concern this season. The exception may be Southern California where near normal conditions currently exist and offshore wind events remain possible through the fall. Drought conditions persist across a portion of the Great Lakes region, however with recent moisture and decreasing temperatures, fuels will not likely recover to the point of causing above normal significant fire potential after the early portion of October. Drought will persist and worsen across much of the southern U.S. from Texas through North Carolina. With leaf fall already underway and significantly below normal precipitation likely, fuel conditions will continue to be critical. The lee side of the Hawaiian Islands will also remain in a drought and fuels conditions will continue to be dry.
And, don’t forget about the fire weather forecast for the next 10 years we posted earlier.