Portions of California expected to see above average wildfire activity

September 2019 wildfire outlook

On September 1 the Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center issued their Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for September through December. 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, California will be one of two states expected to have areas with above average potential for wildfires, and those sections of California will shrink through December until the only areas remaining are the mountains and coasts from Santa Barbara south to the Mexican border. Southern Alaska could also have above normal fire activity in September.

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;
  • Vegetation greenness map;
  • Keetch-Byram Drought Index.

From NIFC:

“Due to the recent lack of rainfall, areas of concern have emerged and are expanding to include Texas, California, Nevada, Utah and southwestern Wyoming – all of which have generally seen less than 25% of average precipitation during the past month. Extended periods of dry conditions across New Mexico and the southern Great Plains are also leading to the development and intensification of drought conditions.

“Entering September, warmer and drier than average conditions are expected to occur along the West Coast, which may persist well into fall. However, the passage of periodic wet systems should gradually end the fire season from north to south across the Northern Rockies, Central Rockies and Great Basin. Texas is expected to remain warmer and drier than average, which may, in turn prolong their season well into fall. Warmer and drier than average conditions are expected across the piedmont of the southern Appalachians, but wet antecedent conditions should preclude fire activity there.

“As the fall progresses, fire activity should relent over the Pacific Northwest and eventually Northern California during October. Southern California will likely be the last area to see fire activity conclude in 2019 as offshore winds and dry fuels may keep fire activity going south of Pt. Conception into December. In Alaska, overall warmer and wetter than average conditions are expected until the state enters winter.”


October 2019 wildfire outlook

November 2019 wildfire outlook

Continue reading “Portions of California expected to see above average wildfire activity”

Elevated wildfire potential expected in Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and California

August wildfire outlook

On August 1 the Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center issued their Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for August through November. 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, areas in Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and California will have elevated potential for wildfires in August and September. With the monsoons moving into the Southwest there are no areas east of those four states that NIFC identified as having high wildfire potential between August and November.

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;
  • Vegetation greenness map.From NIFC:

“Moderate to severe drought conditions exist across portions of northern Oregon, Washington, northern Idaho and western Montana. However, a recent extended period of cool and periodically moist conditions has lessened the drought stress in the vegetation. Moderate drought has emerged across the northeastern Interior of Alaska and on the Kenai Peninsula. Puerto Rico is also showing developing drought across the southern portion of the island.

“Looking forward, an active but compressed season is expected across the West as the southwestern monsoon becomes more active in August. While this will effectively end the season across the Southwest, lightning-induced fire activity is expected to increase elsewhere. Wind events, which have been largely absent thus far, will increase in frequency by mid to late month as dry frontal passages become a more common occurrence. The occurrence of both wind events and low humidities will influence an increase in fire behavior and growth. Activity in Alaska will continue to diminish as the frequency of frontal passages increases and as temperatures begin to cool. By mid-September the seasonal transition out of the core fire season will be underway as the seasonal transition begins to bring wetting systems to most regions.

“By October and November, however, California will reenter the fire season as Foehn Wind events begin to develop. Concerns this year are higher than average due to the presence of an abundant crop of fine fuels in the lower to middle elevations.”


September wildfire outlook

Continue reading “Elevated wildfire potential expected in Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and California”

July could bring elevated wildfire potential to parts of the west coast, Alaska, Arizona, and the Southeast

Moderate to severe drought conditions exist in western Oregon and Washington

wildfire outlook 2019 July

On July 1 the Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center issued their Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for July through October. 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, areas in California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Alaska, and California will have elevated potential for wildfires at times during the four month period. Forecasters predict portions of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas will have enhanced potential in July.

The areas affected by the multi-year drought in the West have greatly decreased to the point where there are no locations with extreme or exceptional drought. No areas in California are listed as being in drought status, which is a major change from five or six months ago.

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;
  • Vegetation greenness map.

From NIFC:

“Moderate to severe drought conditions exist across Washington and Oregon, especially across western portions of both states. Soil moisture levels are drier than average and drought stress exists. Another area of concern is southern Arizona. While fuel conditions across most of the Southwest exhibit above average fuel moisture and greenness, the southern third of the state is the anomaly. Areas along and north of the Mexican Border remain persistently dry. Periodic wind events have led to critical periods with above normal activity observed. This area will remain a concern until the monsoon arrives in July.

“Alaska experienced a slow entry into its season. By mid-June fire activity increased significantly as fuels continued dried. Numerous lightning events produced a significant number of fire starts. The consistent warm and dry pattern observed at month’s end suggested that the state will continue to be active well into July before the season begins to wind down with the arrival of late summer rains in August.

“In California, robust crop of grasses has grown. The fuel beds have become more continuous than what is typically seen. When the hot, dry, and windy patterns develop during the middle to late summer months, the large fire potential in these areas will elevate. In the higher elevations, the abundant moisture received translated into historic snowfall. This and slow melting rates will translate into a delayed entry into the fire season. To the east, concerns across the Great Basin are rising due to heavy fuel loading and an expected long-duration heat event in early July that should propel the region into fire season.

“With fine fuels fully cured across the West and high elevation larger fuels becoming adequately dry in August, fire season 2019 will peak in August across much of the West. Exceptions to this will be the Southwest where an ongoing monsoon reduced fire activity and the central Rockies, which may not have enough time to fully dry and cure before monsoonal moisture, begins to affect the region.

“A gradual decrease in fire activity is expected to begin by mid-September as the seasonal transition begins and as shortening days translate to shorter burn periods and better overall humidity recoveries overnight. California will begin to reenter fire season in October as East and North wind events begin to occur.”


wildfire outlook 2019 August
Continue reading “July could bring elevated wildfire potential to parts of the west coast, Alaska, Arizona, and the Southeast”

Forecasters predict the potential for large wildfires will be higher than average on the west coast this summer

Areas to watch will be Northern California and the west sides of Oregon and Washington

June wildfire potential

On June 1 the Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center issued their Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for June through September. 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 areas with above normal wildfire potential on the western sides of Washington, Oregon, and California will expand during the four-month period until they cover most of the forested lands in California as well as northern Washington and Idaho. Forecasters predict portions of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas will have enhanced potential in June and July.

The areas affected by  the multi-year drought in the West have greatly decreased to the point where there are no locations with extreme or exceptional drought. Northwestern Oregon is classified as “severe drought” and this could be an area to watch over the summer months.

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; and,
  • Drought Monitor.
  • Vegetation greenness maps

From NIFC:
“…As June progresses, the fine fuels will begin to cure and dry from south to north across the West. Lingering high elevation snowpack should be lost. Wildfire activity should begin to increase by late month as peak of the fire season begins to arrive as July and August approach. As is the case with the lower elevation fuels, the high elevation heavy fuels will also experience a delayed entry into the season except along the Canadian Border in Washington State where overall dryness will lead to an average start with a potential for above normal activity. Alaska will reach its peak in June and begin to wind down in July.

“Looking ahead to August and September the fire potential and resulting activity should increase to Normal in most areas except along the West Coast where Above Normal significant large fire potential is expected due to fuel loading and preexisting dry conditions. A traditional winding down of the Western fire season is expected in Mid-September as fall moisture begins to arrive…”

July wildfire potential

August wildfire potential

Continue reading “Forecasters predict the potential for large wildfires will be higher than average on the west coast this summer”

Increased wildfire activity predicted for British Columbia and Yukon

Wildfire potential for North America May, June, July, 2019
Wildfire potential for North America May, June, July, 2019. Click to enlarge.

The Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center has predicted above normal wildfire activity  this summer for southern Arizona, areas of California, and western Oregon and Washington.

An outlook for North America released on Friday also shows enhanced potential for British Columbia and the Yukon Territory in June and July.

Below is an excerpt from the North American Seasonal Fire Assessment and Outlook prepared by NIFC, Natural Resources Canada, and Servicio Meteorológico Nacional.

“For May, recent climate model runs suggest Canada will have lower fire severity than normal. While an early start to warm and dry conditions is leaving much of British Columbia prone to fire starts, rainfall is likely in the last half of the month, which will likely result in normal monthly fire severity for the province. The latest climate model runs hint at continued blocking ridges in the eastern Pacific during June, resulting in warm and dry conditions and resulting elevated fire severity indexes in British Columbia and Yukon. This pattern often features the eastern side of the ridge over the Prairies, so western Alberta also appears prone to elevated fire risk, while conditions east of Alberta are likely to have normal values. July’s forecast is similar to June’s forecast, with elevated fire severity indexes expected throughout British Columbia, western Alberta, and southern Yukon. A slight difference exists as the Yukon area depicted covers only the southern part of the territory in July, while in June it extended north near the Arctic coast.”

Wildfire potential for North America, May
Wildfire potential for North America, May 2019.
Wildfire potential for North America, June
Wildfire potential for North America, June 2019.
Wildfire potential for North America
Wildfire potential for North America, July 2019.

Wildfire potential, May through August

If NIFC’s analysis is correct, wildfire activity along the west coast will grow substantially into the summer

wildfire potential

On May 1 the Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center issued their Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for May through August. 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 wildfire potential in areas along the west coast will grow substantially into the summer.

The multi-year drought in California has been virtually neutralized due to substantial quantities of winter rain and snow. An area to watch will be the west sides of Oregon and Washington.

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; and,
  • Drought Monitor.

“Greenup is occurring across the nation entering May; fuels across the Southwest are now drying and curing and will become increasingly receptive to fire activity as the month progresses. Looking north, Alaska’s interior is becoming drier and increasing activity is expected. By late May and early June, California and the southern Great Basin will see an increase in activity as fine fuels dry and cure. In July, low and middle elevation fine fuels will dry across the remainder of the West and will gradually become receptive to fire activity from south to north. Unlike most years, there could be a delayed start to the season in the higher, timbered elevations due to preexisting weather conditions and slower than average snowpack melting rates. An exception to this could be along the Canadian Border with Washington, Idaho, and western Montana where below average snowpack and moderate drought conditions exist. These areas can expect an average start to the season with a potential for above normal activity. A normal transition out of fire season is expected across Alaska in July. The onset of the southwestern monsoon may be slightly delayed.

“August marks the beginning of the peak of the western fire season. Most of the country can expect Normal conditions. Exceptions will be along the West Coast. A heavy crop of grasses and fine fuels has developed across California and should elevate the potential as it cures and dries. Higher elevations in the Sierra will likely see a late entry into the season due to the record-setting snowpack and slow meltoff. The Pacific Northwest has entered a period of moderate drought. An early entry is possible across the Cascades and in the Okanogan. Elsewhere, some high elevations across the Great Basin and central Rockies could experience Below Normal potential and conditions.”

wildfire potential

Continue reading “Wildfire potential, May through August”