Wildfire potential, December through March

December wildfire outlook


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

If their predictions are correct, the elevated wildfire danger that has plagued the southern states for weeks will be returning to normal. From January through March their analysis shows no areas with above normal wildfire potential.

January wildfire outlook

February March wildfire outlook


Scroll down to see the Drought Monitor, 8 to 14-day and the 90-day temperature and precipitation outlooks.

Below is an excerpt from their report that was released today:

Significant wildland fire potential has largely returned to normal across the United States. In most instances this indicates a condition in which very little fire activity is expected and could be considered out of season.

The exceptions to this occur across the southern tier where the global climate circulations have produced a long term dry condition. In Southern California long term drought remains in place. The seasonal return of a cooler and wetter environment will generally return above normal fire potential to normal, but likely not have significant impact on the existing drought.

Across the southeastern U.S. drought conditions coupled with the additional fuel loading of leaf drop have created a critical fire environment. This condition is expected to improve in late November and early December as some moisture moves through and dampens the fuels. However, there is potential that the dryness across portions of the south as well as the south central plains could lead to periods of increased fire activity, especially when associated with dry winds. This will be especially likely into the late winter and spring.

Though this is not a significant period of fire activity for much of the United States, this time of year is when much of the baseline condition is being established for the 2017 fire season. At this point fire managers are paying close attention to winter moisture and snowpack in order to develop plans for what the upcoming season might bring.

8 14 day temperature outlook 8 14 day precipitation outlook

drought monitor

90 day temperature precipitation forecast

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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.