Wildfire potential, January through April, 2012

wildfire monthly_outlook 1-2012

The Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center has issued their National Wildland Significant Fire Potential Outlook for January through April, 2012. According to their prediction, most of the United States is in for a quiet first part of the year with the exception of parts of Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas (as usual), Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida.

wildfire monthly_outlook 1-2012

wildfire seasonal outlook 1-2012

According to NIFC, the primary factors influencing these outlooks are:

  • La Niña: La Niña conditions will continue over the tropical Pacific and typical weather patterns will return to the US after intraseasonal circulations disrupted the classic La Niña patterns over North America in December.
  • Drought: Significantly above normal precipitation fell in December over parts of the front range of the southern Rockies, the central Plains and the Ohio Valley. Parts of central and west Texas, southwest New Mexico and southern Arizona also received above normal precipitation. Much of the West, the central and southern Rockies, the northern Plains and Florida received less than 50 percent of normal precipitation for the month.
  • Fuel Dryness: Fuel conditions continue to improve across most of the U.S. As winter progresses and La Niña returns the northern tier of the country will see fuel conditions that are not conducive to significant fires. The far southern portions of the country, however, will begin to experience drier and warmer periods as La Niña sets in. Even though these will not be as strong as last year, expect fuels conditions to dry significantly and support significant fires across the Southwest and the far Southeast.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.