As you can see from the snowpack and drought maps, much of the west and south are very dry. If these conditions linger throughout the winter, it could be an interesting fire season in many areas. The snowpack map helps explain the two recent large fires in northwest Montana 30 miles south of the Canadian border (map).
You can compare these maps to the National Wildland Significant Fire Potential Outlook for January through April, 2012 which we summarized on January 4.
Below are the long-range precipitation outlooks for the next six months, prepared December 15, 2011: