Wildland fire potential, August through November

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wildfire potential August 2016

On August 1 the Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center issued their Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for August through November, 2016. The data represents the cumulative forecasts of the ten Geographic Area Predictive Services Units and the National Predictive Services Unit. Below are highlights from the outlook.


“For August, significant wildland fire potential will continue to be focused in the finer fuel and brush areas of California and the Great Basin with some expansion into Oregon, Montana and Wyoming. Primary concerns continue to focus on the abundant fine fuels and their ability to carry fires more effectively than in a typical year. Additionally significant mortality will increase heavy fuel availability throughout the mountains of California, while typical summer dryness will bring fire activity in the heavier fuels of the Northwest, Northern Rockies, Rocky Mountains and Great Basin up to normal levels. Furthermore, the Southwest, Rocky Mountains and southern Great Basin will see an intermittent monsoon which will continue some level of fire activity in those areas.

wildfire potential September 2016

“As fall begins, days shorten, temperatures cool and frontal systems become more common. This typical transition will return much of the Northwest, Northern Rockies, Rocky Mountains and Great Basin to normal fire activity through September. California will continue to see elevated potential due to long term dryness. This will occasionally be amplified through the fall and early winter as offshore flow events become more common. The southern U.S. will also see an increase to above normal significant fire potential as long term dryness couples with leaf drop and dormancy of live fuels to create a receptive environment for fall fire activity.

wildfire potential October November

“By October and November much of central California will transition to normal fire potential as is seasonally expected. Southern California will continue to see elevated significant fire potential and will also see the persistent threat of offshore wind events. The southeastern states will see a broad area of increased potential as a result of long term dryness and the introduction of La Niña conditions which typically bring warmer and drier-than-normal conditions to the southern tier of states.”

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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.