Outlook for wildfire potential, August through November, 2015

The Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center has issued their Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for August through November, 2015. 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, portions of Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, and Montana will have above normal wildfire activity through September.

It is interesting that northern California, where many fires are growing at very, very rapid rates, has “normal” wildfire potential according to the analysis for August, perhaps because of this statement in the document about northern California:

The strengthening El Niño pattern will cause occasional monsoon surges, mainly in August.

Here are the highlights from their outlook.



wildfire potential August

  • Drier than normal fuels and little forecasted relief have led to above normal significant fire potential for most of the Northwest and western
    portions of the Northern Rockies.
  • Long term drought will keep significant fire potential above normal in Southern California.
  • Alaska will see continued periodic acreage growth from established fires which will lead to overall above normal significant fire potential.
  • Elsewhere mostly normal activity should be expected; which includes frequent significantfires and plentiful initial attack for August.


wildfire potential September

  • Central California and Alaska will see significant fire potential return to normal; however dry conditions are expected to persist in the Northwest, western Northern Rockies and far Southern California. 
  • Elsewhere primarily normal activity should be prevalent. For September, this means a rapid decline in both numbers of fires and acres burned for most Areas.


wildfire potential October November

  • Far Southern California will remain above normal for October and November; while most of the rest of the U.S. will be normal in many areas indicating little or no fire activity.
  • Below normal significant fire potential across most of the eastern U.S. for this period thanks to frequent moisture inputs represents a reduced fall and winter fire season for U.S. overall.


As a bonus, here is the Drought Monitor from July 28, 2015:

Drought Monitor July 28, 2015And, the U.S. Drought Outlook for August:

US Drought Outlook, August, 2015


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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.

2 thoughts on “Outlook for wildfire potential, August through November, 2015”

  1. Thank you Mr, Gabbert for your most informative commentary. It is so refreshing to hear and read accurate facts without the media drama that very often is inaccurate.
    I live in Clearlake. Very close to the Rocky fire.


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