The National Interagency Fire Center recently issued its predictions for forest fires through October 2014 — and it’s not looking good. There is a significant wildfire potential included in this outlook, and represents cumulative forecasts of the eleven Geographic Area Predictive Services Units and the National Predictive Services Unit.
The reason for this increased threat of wildfires is partly due to the ongoing severe drought throughout much of the West and Southwest — temperatures in this area were also 3 to 6 degrees above normal causing extremely dry conditions.
An above normal fire potential will persist over much of California, the Northwest and the Great Basin. Southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico will return to normal in July. A below normal fire potential will continue for much of the south central and southeast U.S. Below normal potential will also become prevalent across portions of the Northern Rockies and Rocky Mountains.
An above normal fire potential will continue over most of California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Above normal conditions could possibly develop across the New England states and Four Corners area if short-term weather develops that would support fire outbreaks. Below normal fire potential will continue over northern Idaho, Montana and portions of Wyoming, Colorado and South Dakota. Portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi will also continue to see below normal fire potential.
September – October
Above normal fire potential will remain over Southern and Central California. Northern California, Oregon and Washington will return to normal during this period. Below normal fire potential will return across much of the Southeastern U.S. except for gulf coastal areas and most of the Coastal Atlantic states.
Fuels across much of the western U.S. have been drier than usual through spring and the early summer months. Long-term drought conditions and continuously reduced soil moisture have exacerbated the situation, indicating that the upcoming fire season could become significant. There is the potential that periodic precipitation or humidity could push the fire season into a more normal condition that is being forecast in many areas.
Areas east of the Continental Divide have received a good amount of precipitation this spring and in many cases still have above normal snowpack on the landscape. Anywhere east of the Divide will likely have a greater-than-usual fuel loading but fuel moistures and indices are normal at best and likely below normal.
In Alaska, June precipitation has limited a potentially significant fire season. Regular precipitation has limited the Alaska fuel conditions and they are not likely to increase to above normal.
WeatherBug is proud to help hundreds of Emergency Management Agency jurisdictions, with the use of our weather and lightning data, increase their effectiveness against disasters such as wildfires, hurricanes, floods and other dangers. For more information on our industry solutions, click here.
For the full outlook, click here.
For wildfire safety information and tips, click here.
Stay Safe. Know Before™.
The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team