Potential for wildfires in California predicted to be high in November

It will remain high in southern California through December

wildfire potential November

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

If NIFC’s analysis is correct the only area with above average potential for wildfires during the four-month period is California in November and December. According to the prediction most of the forested or brush-covered lands in the state will have enhanced potential in November. That area will shrink in December to just the southern two-thirds of California.


  • 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;
  • Drought Monitor;
  • Keetch-Byram Drought Index.

From NIFC:

“Entering the outlook period, most states will remain out of fire season in November. Exceptions to this will continue to be California, Colorado, and possibly Texas where drier than average conditions will continue. Expect periodic increases in fire potential and activity during wind events that not only bring strong winds but also drier air that lowers humidity levels to critical levels. The occurrence of such events should begin to diminish in frequency later in the month as the seasonal transition begins to end. Medium range data suggests that conditions across the Southeast will continue to show improvement as the frequency of moisture events continues to increase.”

wildfire potential December

wildfire potential January

wildfire potential February

90-day precipitation temperature
Outlook for temperature and precipitation December through February.
Drought Monitor
Drought Monitor
Keetch-Byram Drought Index
The Keetch-Byram Drought Index assesses the risk of fire by representing the net effect of evapotranspiration and precipitation in producing cumulative moisture deficiency in deep duff and upper soil layers. The index ranges from zero, the point of no moisture deficiency, to 800, the maximum drought that is possible.

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+

One thought on “Potential for wildfires in California predicted to be high in November”

  1. there will be a large rain event for calif around Nov 15. apparently these long-range models underestimate the effect of short term heavy events.

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