GFMC: Forest Fires in the United States
Forest Fires in the United States
21 January 2002
Wildland Fire Update
Attention: All links to the NIFC and BLM websites are not operational because of litigation against the Department of the Interior (DOI) regarding access to Indian trust data or assets. On 5 December 2001, a court order required DOI and its agencies to disconnect from the internet all information systems until it can be demonstrated that systems housing or providing access to individual Indian trust data or assets meet appropriate security standards.
The GFMC will monitor the developments and remove this notification when internet access to DOI websites and electronic communication will be resumed.
The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) based in Boise (Idaho) provides key information on current wildland fire situations, related information and background materials. The following information is updated daily and can be accessed directly:
- State-by-State daily and year-to-date summary of fire activities
- Year-to-date State-by-State total number of wildland fires and area burned (table)
- Daily locations of large fires (map)
The National Interagency Coordination Center (NICC) provides daily situation reports. These reports include:
- Incident Management Situation Reports (fires and area burned reported to NICC). The files include current, previous and archived reports
- Prescribed Fire and Wildland Fire Use (year-to-date fires and area burned reported to NICC, posted weekly on Monday mornings)
Fire Weather & Fire Danger Information
The Wildland Fire Assessment System (WFAS) is a contribution of “The Fire Behavior Research Work Unit”, Missoula (Montana USA). The broad area component of the Wildland Fire Assessment System (WFAS) generates maps of selected fire weather and fire danger components.
Fire Danger (Potential) is a normalized adjective rating class across different fuel models and station locations. It is based on information provided by local station managers about the primary fuel model, fire danger index selected to reflect staffing level, and climatological class breakpoints. Low danger (Class 1) is green and extreme potential (Class 5) is red.
Fire danger maps for the United States for 20January 2002 (observation time) and 21 January 2002 (forecast)
Dead fuel moisture responds solely to ambient environmental conditions and is critical in determining fire potential. Dead fuel moistures are classed by timelag.
10-HR Fuel Moisture
100-HR Fuel Moisture
1000-HR Fuel Moisture
Fuel moisture maps for conterminous US, 20 January 2002
The Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) is a soil/duff drought index. Factors in the index are maximum daily temperature, daily precipitation, antecedent precipitation, and annual precipitation. The index ranges from 0 (no drought) to 800 (extreme drought) (details).
Keetch-Byram Drought Index Maps for conterminous US, 20 January 2002
For more information on the recent fire situation see: Recent Media Highlights on Fire, Policies, and Politics ,especially several articles since 1 November 2001.
Near-real time satellite images
Operational Significant Event Imagery (OSEI)
The following significant events were identified by Satellite Analysis Branch meteorologists and reviewed by the OSEI support team of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):
NESDIS/OSEI NOAA-12 POES AVHRR LAC satellite images, 17 January 2002.
Heat signatures (red) are visible from fires burning in southern Georgia and Alabama.
The blurriness in the image is due the image being towards the edge of the satellite
Long-range weather forecasts
National Weather Service
Long-range, 30-day weather forecasts are predicting above-normal temperatures for the southern tier of states from southern California to Florida and throughout the Midwest (see 30 and 90-day forecast maps).
30 and 90-day temperature and precipitation forecast maps(December 2001and December to February 2002)
(Source: National Weather Service)
The Florida Division of Forestry gives the following long-range Wildfire Season Forecast September – March 2002 for Florida:
“A return to near normal conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean marks the end of the prolonged La Niña event that brought very active fire seasons to the state the past few years. Normal to slightly warmer sea surface temperatures in the Pacific will bring us our first normal winter in a while, and if sea surface temperatures continue to slowly warm we may get above normal rainfall this winter.”
For further information see: Wildfire Season Forecast of the Florida Division of Forestry
For further information you may also see to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
For background information on the Southern Area see the Edited Version of the Southern Area Intelligence Briefing Paper for 22 April 2001.