Wildfire potential, February through May, 2012

Monthly wildfire outlook

The Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center has issued their National Wildland Significant Fire Potential Outlook for February through May, 2012. According to their prediction, several areas of the United States will have above normal wildfire potential during this period.

Wildfire outlook, February, 2012

Seasonal wildfire outlook, March-May, 2012

Here is an excerpt from their report:


La Niña: La Niña remains at near moderate strength and is expected to slowly weaken during the spring months. Classic weather patterns of wet and cold in the northwest and warm and dry in the south are expected, although intensity of these cannot be directly correlated to the strength of La Niña.

Drought: Significantly above normal precipitation fell January across parts of West and North Texas and southern Oklahoma. The Northwest also received significant precipitation. However, large parts of the Southwest and the Plains states remained much below normal. Severe to exceptional drought continues across the south central and far southeastern parts of the U.S. and over parts of the upper Mississippi valley.

Fuel Dryness: Late January and early February have brought a transition to much of the U.S. The southern tier continues to see drier than normal conditions, except across some portions of Texas, where precipitation is moistening fuels even though drought conditions remain prevalent. Also, tree mortality from drought will continue to be problematic. Across much of the west, including the Great Basin fine fuels remain heavy and continuous and are largely dry or capable of quickly drying. Significant fires will be possible with the combination of ignitions and windy conditions. The formerly dry Northwestern quarter of the country has begun to see significant moistening and snowpacks are beginning to increase. In the east the northern tier will largely be near normal seasonal fuel conditions with some dryness lingering across the Great Lakes states. The southeast will continue drier than normal fuels conditions south and east of the Tennessee Valley.


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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.

One thought on “Wildfire potential, February through May, 2012”

  1. This map is inaccurate as far as the affected area stops along a line on the western Minnesota border. Our department is in east central South Dakota. We have seen this mapping of the potential for wild fire potential and the area along a line on the western Minnesota border actually covers a good portion of eastern South Dakota as well.


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