Wildfire potential, June through September

Wildfire Potential June 2016

On June 1 the Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center issued their Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for June through September, 2016. The data represents the cumulative forecasts of the ten Geographic Area Predictive Services Units and the National Predictive Services Unit.

If their forecast is correct, Alaska, the Northwest, the East, the Central states, and Rocky Mountain areas will avoid unusually high wildfire activity. Over the four-month period above normal wildfire potential should move from Arizona and New Mexico into California, Nevada, and southwest Idaho, and remain high in Hawaii for the entire period.

Wildfire Potential July 2016 Wildfire Potential Aug-Sep 2016

Here are the highlights of the written report issued May 1 (which we have reformatted a little for easier reading). More details are available at the link above.


Eastern States

“Conditions across the Eastern States have mitigated enough thanks to timely moisture and the onset of green-up that these areas no longer present a concern for above normal significant wildland fire potential.


For June and early July two primary areas of fire activity are the focus. First, Alaska has begun to see significant fire activity. Recent moisture over the state has dried out, triggering an increase in fire activity. Some of these fires are holdover fires from the 2015 fire season. Alaska will continue to see normal levels of significant fire activity into July.

Southwest Area

Second, the Southwest Area enters its primary fire season in June and July. This area has a robust fine fuel crop; however, lingering moisture has largely kept significant fires at bay. As seasonal drying progresses south of the Mogollon Rim, expect above normal levels of significant fire potential to remain dominant through at least early July, especially in fine fuel regimes.

Great Basin and California

Heavy and continuous fine fuel loadings are expected across the Great Basin and lower elevation areas of southern and central California. Dry and windy periods will increase fire activity and the potential for fires to become large and grow rapidly. Fire activity will begin in June and July and transition northward throughout the Outlook period. Warm conditions have depleted much of the mountain snowpack. Remaining snowpack should continue to melt off but remain long enough for a normal to slightly delayed onset of higher elevation fire activity. Nearly all higher elevation timbered areas are expected to see normal fire activity throughout the Outlook period.

Other areas

Most other areas of the U.S. are expected to see normal significant fire potential throughout the summer fire season. It is important to note that normal fire activity still represents a number of significant fires occurring and acres burned.”

As a bonus, here is some additional weather data:

Precipitation, 90 days before June 1, 2016
Precipitation, 90 days before June 1, 2016

Relative Greenness

90-day precip-temp outlook
Outlook for temperature and precipitation, June through August, 2016.

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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.