Wildfire potential, February through May

Wildfire potential in United States is expected be normal or below normal in most areas during the coming four months

February wildfire potential outlook

After missing the January edition of the monthly fire potential outlook due to the shutdown of the Departments of Interior and Agriculture, today the Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center issued their Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for February through May. The data represents the cumulative forecasts of the ten Geographic Area Predictive Services Units and the National Predictive Services Unit.

If their analysis is correct, the wildfire potential for United States will be normal during the coming four months, except it will be below normal for most of the South and above normal for Hawaii.

The format of the written outlook has recently evolved. Verbiage about past weather and fuel conditions over the previous 30 to 60 days is more prominent along with descriptions for what is normal for the present and near future. Forecasts for what land managers will be faced with in the coming months are still in the document, and can be found in the sections for each geographic area.


  • An excerpt from the NIFC narrative report for the next several months;
  • More of NIFC’s monthly graphical outlooks;
  • NOAA’s three-month temperature and precipitation forecasts; and,
  • Drought Monitor.

Here is one section that discusses El Niño:

“Impacts from a fading El Niño event on late winter and spring weather conditions vary. They typically result in below average snowpack across the northwestern quarter of the nation and above average snowpack across the central portion of the West. The southern tier of the nation tends to experience wetter than average conditions, except possibly across West Texas which can be drier than average. The northern tier of the nation can be warmer than average which would promote a faster melting rate of the snowpack in the mountains across the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Rockies.”

March wildfire potential outlook

April wildfire potential outlook

May wildfire potential outlook

90 day Outlook temperature precipitation
Outlook for temperature and precipitation, March through May.
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+