Wildfire potential expected to be above normal in many western locations this summer

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July could be a very busy month for wildland firefighters in the U.S.

potential wildfires fires weather forecast prediction

The National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook issued today by the Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center for June through September indicates that many areas in the western United States will have above normal potential for wildfires. In July the increased fire danger is expected to affect significant portions of California, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Arizona.

The wildfire potential in the southern states is predicted to be below normal.

The data from NIFC shown here represents the cumulative forecasts of the ten Geographic Area Predictive Services Units and the National Predictive Services Unit.

Below:

  • 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.

“June through early July is the peak of the fire season across the Southwest. Expect for the normal fire activity across the region to increase through the period with some areas experiencing Above Normal significant large fire potential, especially across Arizona. As the monsoon begins in mid-July, activity across the Southwest will diminish. Activity across Alaska will also diminish as the rainy season begins. California, central and northern portions of the Great Basin, the Pacific Northwest, and the Northern Rockies will begin to enter their peaks.

“Above Normal significant large fire potential is expected in the areas shown on the maps due primarily to increasing drought conditions, early loss of mountain snowpack, anticipated lightning activity, and overall hot and dry conditions that should persist through August. As is typically the case, the peak season fire activity across the northwestern portion of the country should diminish by mid-September as the seasonal transition begins and allows for wet fronts to bring precipitation to impacted areas.”


potential wildfires fires weather forecast prediction

potential wildfires fires weather forecast prediction

potential wildfires fires weather forecast prediction

drought monitor
Drought Monitor
90 day temp precip
Forecast for temperature and precipitation, June through August, 2020. Made May 21, 2020.

IKeech-Byram Drought Index

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 expected to be above normal in many western locations this summer”

  1. Very similar weather outlooks were being flagged in Australia in the months prior to their late 2019, early 2020 catastrophic wildfire season.

    But here we are, with Covid-driven rhetoric from USFS about rapid initial attack being especially critical this year…and only 15 large and very large air tankers ready to support federally-managed fires in 2020.

    If Gabbert’s last 5 stories plus this article (https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2020-us-australia-firefighting-aircraft-climate-change/) that quotes Gabbert were required reading today for Congress and relevant federal agencies…it would provide the perfect “told ya so” paper trail describing the perfect storm that is forming in the U.S.

  2. There is a lot of emphasis put on retardant. We have bigger, faster planes, that drop more red stuff than ever before. Yes, more would help. What we need is folks on the ground that will follow- up that retardant with hoselays, handline and dozer line. In my observation, for whatever reason, this has dropped off dramatically over the last several years. It used to be routine that air tankers would drop along a flank of, say, a 20 acre fire, then across the head, while engines would come in and start an anchor point with a hoselay then flank the fire and continue around while the tankers were reloading. Hand crews or dozers would come in and put line around it. Helicopters would drop on the other flank or spot fires. Fires WILL burn through retardant if there are not enough people on the ground to support it. We hear that all the time on this forum and it is fundamental to wildland firefighting. It seems that there is some mindset that we need more retardant to “put the fires out”. We used to put fires out with less mud and more ground pounders. I get it that fires are burning hotter and faster, but we need to get back to fundamental firefighting, which includes getting aircraft to fires quicker, and folks on the ground being more aggressive.

  3. Thanks for posting all that intel in one place to make it easier for everyone. Here’s a video posted four days ago on the SW Colorado Wildfire Coalition site that summarizes what’s going on right now in the SW. Nicely presented.
    https://youtu.be/4WfhTa0CuxY

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