Wildfire potential, January through April

Wildfire potential January

Above: wildfire potential for January, 2018.

(Originally published at 12:55 p.m. MDT January 2, 2018)

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

If the prediction is accurate, Southern California should see higher than normal wildfire activity throughout the period, with increasing potential in the southwest and southern great plains. The forecast for the southeast is for normal to below normal activity.

Below are:

  • The highlights of the NIFC narrative report for the next several months;
  • NIFC’s monthly graphical outlooks;
  • NOAA’s three-month temperature and precipitation forecasts; and
  • Drought Monitor.

“…Looking forward, a less amplified pattern is expected to develop for January and February with the mean position of the high pressure ridge being along or just off the West Coast. This should result in overall slightly colder than average conditions in northern areas with pockets of above average precipitation over the Northwest and Great Lakes regions. There is some concern that an active, westerly flow could produce overall warmer and drier than average conditions in March and April in these areas. Across the southern tier of the country, the overall warmer and drier than average conditions will continue through February and into March and possibly April. For this outlook period, the areas of note for increased fire potential will remain Southern California and the southwest. The Great Plains could see periodic increases in activity when wind events arise.”

Wildfire potential February Wildfire potential March Apriltemperature forecastprecipitation forecast

Drought Monitor
Drought Monitor

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. Google+

3 thoughts on “Wildfire potential, January through April”

  1. Considering that the “La Nina” effect predicted for December in the South Central states (including Texas) has been, um, er, uh, TOTALLY WRONG…

    Above predicted precipitaion, coupled with lower-than-predicted temperatures…to the point of snows (how’s that for higher precip/lower temps?)

    I have little confidence in this forecast, especially since no explanation is provided for the previous error in those forecasts.

    See previous forecasts here:



  2. Going to be interesting. Here is KS Dodge City hasn’t had any precipitation great than .01 in 3 months. A wet April and May last year has thick tall grass everywhere. December had 4 fires over 3500 acres. We need some rain bad.

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