Wildfire potential in September expected to remain above normal in parts of the Northwest

Predicted to be above normal in Northern California through November

Wildfire potential September

The forecast for wildland fire potential issued September 1 by the National Interagency Fire Center predicts that the potential for wildfires in Northern California will be above normal September through November. Northern Minnesota and the northwest one-quarter of the country  will also be above normal in September. Hawaii and Wyoming could be busy in September and October. The southeast Atlantic coast states may experience above normal fire activity in October and November, but December looks to be pretty average in all 50 states.

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


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

“Climate outlooks indicate warmer than normal conditions are likely for much of CONUS through fall. Wetter than average conditions are likely across western Washington for the fall with below normal precipitation likely across the Southwest, Great Basin, central Rockies, and much of the Plains. The Southeast is forecast to have near normal precipitation through October but turn drier in late fall and early winter.

“Much of Southern Area and areas south of the Ohio River are likely to have below normal significant fire potential in September, but much of the southeast US and Mid-Atlantic is forecast to have above normal fire potential in October and November. Normal significant fire potential is forecast for Alaska along with most of Eastern Area through the period. The entire US is forecast to have normal fire potential in December.

“Above normal significant fire potential is forecast to continue for September across much of the Northwest and portions of the Great Basin, Northern Rockies, and Rocky Mountain Geographic Areas. Most of these areas will return to normal fire potential in October and November except for portions of Wyoming, northwest Colorado, and the Black Hills, which will remain above normal into October. Much of northern California is forecast to have above normal potential through November with leeside locations in Hawaii likely to have above normal significant fire potential into October.”

Wildfire potential October

Wildfire potential November
Wildfire potential December

90-day precipitation outlook
90-day precipitation outlook. Made August 19, 2021.
90-day Temperature outlook
90-day temperature outlook. Made August 19, 2021.
Drought monitor,
Drought monitor, made Aug. 26, 2021.

KBDI Sept. 1, 2021

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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.

4 thoughts on “Wildfire potential in September expected to remain above normal in parts of the Northwest”

  1. I would take that at face value, Canada has solid, professional fire management organizations in all provinces.

  2. I noticed that in Canada a large number of wildfires are listed as “out of control.” Do you take the term at face value, or do they rate wildfire differently?

    1. It may come down to nomenclature differences. CIFFC (the Canadian NIFC) uses the following as stages of control:

      – Out of control: Describes a wildfire that is not responding (or only responding on a limited basis) to suppression action, such that the perimeter spread is not being contained.
      – Being Held: Indicates that (with the resources currently committed to the fire) sufficient suppression action has been taken that the fire is not likely to spread beyond existing or predetermined boundaries under the prevailing and forecasted conditions.
      – Under Control: The fire has received sufficient suppression action to ensure no further spread of the fire.
      – Out… I think that one is internationally understood 😉

      So the number of OC fires in Canada are either remote/no-values fires where free-burning wildfire is being allowed to take it’s course as a natural and ecologically important disturbance or where they have not yet achieved containment or control (ie, some of BC’s ongoing campaign fires)


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