Wildfire activity this summer has been far below average in Western U.S.

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Jalama Fire Santa Barbara County
The Jalama Fire burned 1.9 acres September 1 on Jalama Road, six miles from California Hwy. 1 near Lompoc. Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo.

The Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center confirmed what wildland firefighters across the West already know — so far this has been a really slow fire season.

Here is what NIFC wrote on September 1, 2019:

“National fire activity continued to lag far below average during this past August. The residual effects of the abundant late spring and early summer moisture may be the primary reason behind the discrepancy between this year’s low number of acreage impact and recent busy summers. Simply put, live fuels are not as receptive as usual compared to most Augusts and fire growth has been more moderate through fuel beds dominated by live vegetation.

“A substantial lightning event did occur across the West during August 7-10, which would be enough to lead to a large increase in fire activity during most years. While this lightning event spurred an increase in initial attack shortly afterward, few of new ignitions went on to become large incidents. Temperatures across the West were, on average, 2 to 7 degrees below normal. Conversely, the eastern half of the country experienced above average temperatures, mainly during the first part of August. Out West, the frequency of long-duration heat events were few and mostly limited to 3 to 5 day spans. Precipitation amounts were generally below average across the Continental U.S. except across the northern and central Great Plains.”

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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.

One thought on “Wildfire activity this summer has been far below average in Western U.S.”

  1. WOW, 2 hoselays to anchor and flank the fire, and not an air tanker or helicopter in sight. Apparently they got around the head to keep it under 2 acres. Unheard of these days. Nice job!


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