GFMC: Forest Fires in the United States, 3 August 2000
Forest Fires in the United States
3 August 2000
US may call on Australian firefighters as fires rage
Australian firefighters may be asked to help thousands of volunteers and army personnel as they battle wildfires across the western and southern regions of the United States. With more than a 250,000 hectares having been devastated by fire, a senior Agriculture Department official says the US may look to other countries, such as Australia and Mexico, to help relive exhausted crews. Australia may also provide operations management expertise. Forecasters say they expect little relief from the weather for the rest of the week. Some rain helped contain one major fire, in California’s sequioa national park, but lightning strikes elsewhere set off new blazes.
(Information Source: © 2000 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 3 August 2000)
Helicopters used in western fires
Helicopters replaced ground workers and bulldozers Wednesday as firefighters intensified efforts to contain Idaho fires that were among nearly 50 raging across 10 Western states. Helicopters capable of dumping 1,000 gallons of water were used on 11 fires burning nearly 200,000 acres in the steep rugged terrain of southeastern Idaho. The cluster of fires was only 20 percent contained, but crews managed to stop flames that had threatened houses near the resort community of Lava Hot Springs. Four dozen fires covering more than 700,000 acres burned in Western states, forcing hundreds of evacuations and creating a haze that shrouded mountains and deserts and triggered respiratory warnings. The federal government is spending $15 million a day to support 20,000 civilian and military firefighters from 46 states and Canada. Undersecretary of Agriculture James Lyons said the government is prepared to ask for help from foreign countries. Forecasters say the kind of break in the weather needed to change the conditions may not occur until October in the West. In Montana, 11 large fires had blackened at least 131,700 acres as of Wednesday.
(Information Source: © The Associated Press, 2 August 2000)
Army battalion arrives to help with Idaho fires — Marines close behind
Reinforcements arrived this week to assist the firefighters battling the Burgdorf Junction Fire on the Payette National Forest north of McCall, Idaho. The Armys 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery, from Ft. Hood, Texas, arrived to assist the 20,000 firefighters who have been battling wildland fires for months. Officials at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) requested military assistance because of growing firefighter shortages, above-average activity and a long-range forecast for more of the same hot and dry conditions throughout the West.
Troops were transported by charter buses to the Burgdorf Junction fire on the Payette National Forest north of McCall, Idaho, where they will receive two days of on-the-job training. The soldiers are receiving on-the-job training from experienced strike team leaders from firefighting agencies today and tomorrow. The troops received one day of classroom training at Ft. Hood. During this orientation session, NIFC training specialists and assigned Military Crew Advisors (MCADs) covered topics such as an overview of the Burgdorf Fire situation, the Incident Command System used in wildland fire activities, fire terminology and behavior, key safety information (18 Watchout Situations and 10 Standard Fire Orders), deployment of fire shelters, use of hand tools, and fire suppression and mop-up techniques. The two-day field training will reinforce the classroom material and relate it to the specific conditions on the fire. Emphasis will be on safety as the core value of all wildland firefighting activities, crew coordination and use of personal protective equipment. Soldiers will also be trained in the proper use, transportation and maintenance of tools, and fireline construction techniques. Once they’ve completed the field training, each platoon will be classified as a Type II fire crew. If the fire is contained before their 30-day assignment is complete, they will be reassigned to another priority area. At first, the military will not be assigned to the hottest parts of the fire, but as their experience and skills grow, they may be asked to take on progressively more difficult assignments.
A Marine battalion from Camp Pendleton in California, has been requested for the second military deployment. A team of wildland fire managers will travel to Camp Pendleton Thursday to brief the troops and begin their classroom training. Plans are to assign the Marines to the Clear Creek Fire on the Salmon-Challis National Forest near Salmon, Idaho.
The nation’s firefighting priorities for the nation are to always provide for the safety of the public and firefighters. In addition, managers are working to catch as many fires as possible while they are still small, mitigating large fire growth that requires a significant commitment of resources. The last time the military was requested to assist with wildland firefighting efforts was in 1996 when two battalions and eight C-130 Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems aircraft were used to assist in suppression efforts.
(Information Source: US Forest Service Fire News, 2 August 2000)
The Mesa Verde National Park/Colorado will reopen at 6:00am on Friday, 4 August 2000. For the latest information on the Bircher Fire please visit the Real-Time Fire Website, The Bircher Fire.
Real-Time Fire Website: The Twin Fire, North of Salmon, Idaho
GFMC correspondent Jim Sorenson is currently working on the Twin Fire, North of Salmon, Idaho, and transmitted the following website address:
This site is maintained by the Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team (Joe Stam, Incident Commander). Website host the Alaska Fire Service. This fire website is an interesting and useful example of near-real time fire information dissemination to the public.
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 2 August (observation time) and a forecast for 3 August 2000.
(Source: Fire Behavior Research Work Unit, Missoula)
Dead fuel moisture responds solely to ambient environmental conditions and is critical in determining fire potential. Dead fuel moistures are classed by timelag. A fuel’s timelag is proportional to its diameter and is loosely defined as the time it takes a fuel particle to reach 2/3’s of its way to equilibrium with its local environment. Dead fuels in NFDRS have four timelag classes:
1-hr: Fine flashy fuels, less than 1/4″ (< 0.63 cm) diameter. Responds quickly to weather changes. Computed from observation time temperature, humidity and cloudiness.
10-hr: 1/4 to 1″ (0.63 to 2.54 cm) diameters. Computed from observation time temperature, humidty, and cloudiness, or may be a standard set of “10-Hr Fuel Sticks” that are weighed as part of the fire weather observation.
100-hr: 1 to 3″ (2.54 to 7.62 cm) diameter. Computed from 24 hour average boundary condition composed of day length, hours of rain, and daily temperature/humidity ranges.
1000-hr: 3 to 6″ (7.62 to 15.24 cm) diameter. Computed from a 7-day average boundary condition composed of day length, hours of rain, and daily temperature/humidity ranges.
10-HR Fuel Moisture
100-HR Fuel Moisture
1000-HR Fuel Moisture
Fuel moisture maps for the United States, 2 August 2000
(Source: Fire Behavior Research Work Unit, Missoula)
The Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) is a soil/duff drought index that ranges from 0 (no drought) to 800 (extreme drought) and is based on a soil capacity of 8 inches of water. Factors in the index are maximum daily temperature, daily precipitation, antecedent precipitation, and annual precipitation. KBDI = 0 – 200: Soil moisture and large class fuel moistures are high and do not contribute much to fire intensity. Typical of spring dormant season following winter precipitation. KBDI = 200 – 400: Typical of late spring, early growing season. Lower litter and duff layers are drying and beginning to contribute to fire intensity. KBDI = 400 – 600: Typical of late summer, early fall. Lower litter and duff layers actively contribute to fire intensity and will burn actively. KBDI = 600 – 800: Often associated with more severe drought with increased wildfire occurrence. Intense, deep burning fires with significant downwind spotting can be expected. Live fuels can also be expected to burn actively at these levels.
For further information on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) by Florida’s Division of Forestry / Forest Protection Bureau please refer to Keetch-Byram Drought Index Revisited: Prescribed Fire Applications.
Keetch-Byram Drought Index Maps for conterminous US, 2 August 2000
(Source: Fire Behavior Research Work Unit, Missoula)
Operational Significant Event Imagery (OSEI)
The following significant events were identified by Satellite Analysis Branch meteorologists and reviewed by the OSEI support team:
NESDIS/OSEI NOAA-14 AVHRR HRPT satellite images, 1 August 2000 [conversion table]
Heat signatures and smoke are visible from a number of named fires burning in central Idaho and
western Montana. In the right image heat signatures (red) and
smoke plumes (light blue) are visible from the McDonald II, Spread Ridge,
and Upper Monture Complex fires burning in western Montana.
The BLM – Alaska Fire Service Initial Attack Management System (IAMS) is suite of computer applications developed by BLM/Fire to aid dispatchers and fire managers. IAMS Maps is one of these applications and provides graphical representation of various kinds of geographic data. Maps has been modified to produce output to a Web site to allow internet access to the data that IAMS stores. Dynamic data such as lightning (available May – September), fires, etc. are updated at the homepage of the BLM – Alaska Fire Service (select Maps / AFS IAMS Maps Viewer) every 15 minutes during the fire season.
IAMS image of active fires in Alaska, 2 August 2000
(Source: BLM – Alaska Fire Service)
Fire and Aviation Management Morning Report (2 August 2000) [conversion table]
CLEAR CREEK: This 91,000 acre fire is burning on the Salmon-Challis National Forest, 26 miles northwest of Salmon, Idaho. Structures remain threatened. 30% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 696 people are assigned to this fire.
BURGDORF JUNCTION: This 15,562 acre fire is burning on the Payette National Forest, 23 miles north of McCall, Idaho. The 3rd Batallion 16th Field Artillery of the U.S. Army will begin field training today. 43% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 536 people are working on this fire.
COFFEE POINT NORTH, FLATTOP, FISHER SPRINGS, GENTILE VALLEY, TIN CUP, SUPON: See EASTERN IDAHO COMPLEX
EASTERN IDAHO COMPLEX: This 192,200 acre complex is burning on the Bureau of Land Management, Upper Snake River District administered land. All of the fires are south of Pocatello, Idaho. The fires include: Coffee Point North, Flattop, Fisher Springs, Rattlesnake (Idaho), Moonshine, Gentile Valley, Putnam, Tin Cup, Supon, and West Fork, since yesterday, at least 11 new fires have been added to the complex. 20% of the work has been completed to contain these fires. A total of 587 people are assigned to the fires.
WASATCH COMPLEX: This 3,233 acre complex (two or more fires in the same general area assigned to a single incident commander) is burning on the Wasatch Cache National Forest, southeast of Sandy, Utah. The complex includes the Mine Lake, Cottonwood, East Vivian, and Wallsburg Fires. There is no estimate of containment. 393 people are assigned to this fire.
BROAD, YANCE, MONA WEST: See OLDROYD COMPLEX
OLDROYD COMPLEX: This 48,246 acre complex is burning on the Fishlake National Forest, near Richfield, Utah. The complex includes the Oldroyd, Mona West, Broad, Mourning Dove, and Yance Fires. The towns of Oak City, Mammoth, Silver Springs and Eureka are threatened and structure protection plans are being implemented. 30% of the work had been completed to contain these fires. 646 people are assigned to these fires.
BISMARK: This 1,200 acre fire is burning on the Bureau of Land Management, Salt Lake City Field Office administered land, 15 miles south of Fairfield, Utah. 45% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 61 people have been assigned to this fire.
BOULDER: This 1,500 acre fire is burning on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, 15 miles east of Jackson, Wyoming. Approximately 200 residences and campers have been evacuated from the Granite Creek Road area. There is no estimate of containment. 50 people have been assigned to this fire.
UPPER MONTURE COMPLEX: (formerly known as the SEELEY COMPLEX). This 12,000 acre complex is burning on the Lolo National Forest, 34 miles northeast of Missoula, Montana. There is no estimate of containment. 99 people are assigned to this fire.
CANYON FERRY COMPLEX: Includes Buck Snort and Cave Gulch Fires. This 39,082 acre complex is burning on Montana State Department of Natural Resource administered land, 15 miles east of Helena, Montana. A total of 9 residences and 29 other structures have been destroyed. 35% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 967 people are assigned to this fire.
COUGAR CREEK: This 3,826 acre fire is burning on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, 15 miles southwest of Philipsburg, Montana. 30% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 432 people are assigned to this fire.
TOBIN: This 9,100 acre fire is burning on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, 15 miles southwest of Philipsburg, Montana. 95% of the work has been completed to contain the fire. 363 persons are assigned to this fire.
FORT HOWES COMPLEX: This 58,900 acre complex is burning on the Bureau of Land Management, Miles City Field Office administered land, 25 miles south of Ashland, Montana. The complex includes the Stag Butte, Taylor Butte, and four other fires. The fire has moved within 5 miles of Ashland, Montana. 80% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 358 people are assigned to the fire.
SPREAD RIDGE: This 1,000 acre fire is burning on the Lolo National Forest, 19 miles east of Seeley Lake, Montana. This fire is being managed in conjunction with the Upper Monture Complex. There is no estimate of containment. 194 people are assigned to this fire.
McDONALD II: This 7,000 acre fire is burning on the Lewis and Clark National Forest, 36 miles southwest of Choteau, Montana. There is no estimate of containment. 17 people are assigned to this fire.
VALLEY COMPLEX: This complex is burning on the Bitterroot National Forest, south of Hamilton, Montana. Evacuations have been ordered for residences in the Warm Springs, Dickson, Robbins Gulch and Rye Creek drainages. Number of people assigned to the fire is unknown.
CROOKED: This 1,200 acre fire is burning on the Clearwater National Forest, 50 southwest of Missoula, Montana. There is no estimate of containment. There is no estimate of containment. 355 people are assigned to this fire.
COTTONWOOD: This 5,400 acre fire is burning on the Bureau of Land Management, Carson City Field Office administered land, 30 miles southeast of Lovelock, Nevada. 100% of the work has been completed to contain the fire and this will be the last report unless conditions change. 124 people are working on the fire.
SOUTH CRICKET: This 66,487 acre fire is burning on the Bureau of Land Management, Elko Field Office administered land, 8 miles northeast of Wells, Nevada. 85% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 443 people are working on the fire.
COYOTE: This 15,872 acre fire is burning on the Bureau of Land Management, Ely Field Office administered land, 40 miles northeast of Pioche, Nevada. 70% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 345 people are working on the fire.
PHILLIPS RANCH: This 1,275 acre fire is burning on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, 50 miles southeast of Ely, Nevada. 20% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 75 people are working on the fire.
CHERRY: This 7,500 acre fire is burning on the Bureau of Land Management, Ely Field Office administered land, 30 miles northwest of Ely, Nevada. 2 structures are threatened. 75% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 19 people are working on the fire.
ADOBE: This 8,500 acre fire is burning on the Bureau of Land Management, Elko Field Office administered land, 21 miles north of Elko, Nevada. There is no estimate of containment. 65 people are assigned to this fire.
ARROWCREEK: This 1,500 acre fire is burning on the Nevada Division of Forestry, Western Region administered land, southwest of Reno, Nevada. 6 to 8 homes have been partially damaged. Numerous structures are threatened. 15% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 81 people are assigned to this fire.
REDROCK: This 1,000 acre fire is burning on the Bureau of Land Management, Carson Field Office administered land, north of Stead, Nevada. Structures are threatened. There is no estimate of containment. 22 people are working on the fire.
MANTER: This 63,348 acre fire is burning on the Sequoia National Forest, near Kernville, California. The fire received heavy rain yesterday, which decreased fire activity and allowed crews to make progress. 35% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 1,704 people are assigned to this fire.
PECHANGA: This 5,018 acre fire is being managed by California Department of Forestry and is burning in the Pechanga India Reservation and the Cleveland National Forest, 5 miles east of Temecula, California. Residences are immediately threatened. 15% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 1,513 people are assigned to this fire.
PLASKETT 2: This 5,830 acre fire is burning on the Los Padres National Forest, 25 miles north of Cambria, California. 99% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 1,113 people were assigned to the fire as of July 29, 2000.
RIDGE (formerly known as Cibecue Ridge): This 7,690 acre fire is burning on land protected by the Fort Apache Agency, 5 miles northwest of Carrizo, Arizona. 80% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 92 people are working on this fire.
WALL: This 2,125 acre fire is burning on the Bureau of Land Management, Albuquerque District administered land, 20 miles southwest of Grants, New Mexico. The fire is burning in an extremely remote portion of the El Malpais Wilderness. The fire is 95% contained. All fire resources have been released, but the fire will continue to be monitored.
MIDDLE ENOS: This 13,500 acre fire is burning on the Bureau of Land Management, Worland District administered land, 15 miles south of Meeteetse, Wyoming. 40% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 412 people are assigned to this fire.
DEAD HORSE: This 5,700 acre fire is burning on the Bureau of Land Management, Casper District administered land, 12 miles south of Casper, Wyoming. 90% of the work has been completed to contain this fire. 297 people are assigned to this fire.
National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) Wildland Fire Update (2 August 2000) [conversion table]
Hundreds of new fires ignited by dry thunderstorms yesterday continue to strain initial attack forces in what fire managers are saying is one of the toughest years in recent history for wildland fires out west. With 17 new large wildland fires reported overnight, 47 large fires are now burning or have burned more than 700,000 acres across the West and Texas. New fires were reported in California, Utah, Montana, and Nevada. Yet another round of thunderstorms is expected today in the Great Basin area, which encompasses most of Nevada, the western half of Utah, lower third of Idaho and parts of Oregon and California.
Large Incident Locations of Wildland Fires in the United States, 2 August 2000.
(Source: National Interagency Fire Center)
The National Interagency Fire Center provided new fire statistics, such as:
- Wildland Fire Statistics
- Prescribed Fire Statistics
- Historically Significant Wildland Fires
Five-Year Wildland Fire Comparison Statistics Year-to-Date for the United States (2 August 2000)
(Source: National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC)
As of 2 August 2000 Number of Wildland Fires Area burnt
Acres 2000 61,400 3,596,854 1999 57,959 2,544,764 1998 50,271 1,657,989 1997 40,992 2,209,824 1996 77,957 3,281,700 1995 55,300 1,243,453 1994 49,378 2,024,563 1993 36,840 1,280,388 1992 64,606 777,648 1991 51,913 1,859,782 1990 41,273 2,869,526 1989 39,434 1,382,038 1988 61,197
NIFC Incident Management Situation Report (2 August 2000) [conversion table]
Dry lightning and very heavy initial attack activity occurred in Arizona, southern New Mexico, southern California, Nevada and Utah. Many of the new starts are unstaffed. Seventeen new large fires were reported in the Western and Eastern Great Basin, Northern Rockies, Southern California, and Southern Areas. An Area Command Team was mobilized to Northern Rockies Area. One Type I Incident Management Team was mobilized to Nevada, one was mobilized to the Eastern Great Basin Area and one was reassigned within the Northern Rockies Area. Containment goals were reached on three large fires. Numerous aircraft, equipment, crew and overhead resource orders are being processed by the National Interagency Coordination Center. All eleven western states are reporting very high to extreme fire danger indices.
A fire weather watch is posted in eastern Montana for strong winds and low humidity.
Hot and dry conditions will continue across much of the western United States with a slight chance of dry thunderstorms over Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Central portions of the western states will be hot and dry with a little more thunderstorm activity. In the southwest there will be a chance of showers along with the thunderstorms. Temperatures will again reach the 90’s to 105 across much of the west, with highs around 110 in the deserts of Arizona and Utah. Humidities will be in the single digits and teens. Winds will be decreasing in the northern areas but remain locally gusty, especially during the afternoon hours in Southern California. Gusts of 40 to 50 mph can be expected near thunderstorms. The Sierra Nevada and southern California will have a slight chance of showers along with thunderstorms, mainly over higher terrain. Low clouds and fog will be common along the coast. Winds in the Sierra Nevada be southwest to northwest at 8 to 15 mph with gusts to 20 mph across the Tehachapi mountains. Ridgetop winds in southern California will be from the east to south at 8 to 16 mph.
Long-range, 30-day weather forecasts are predicting above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation 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 (August and August to October 2000)
(Source: National Weather Service, Boise, Idaho)
NIFC Wildland Fire Potential Assessment (8 July to 10 August 2000):
ALASKA – Potential: normal.
Temperatures and precipitation have been normal for the last four weeks. Conditions in the interior of the state continue to support fire activity. The Fire Weather Index (FWI), which represents the intensity of a spreading fire in tundra and forest fuels, is currently high in the central interior in many places. Long-range forecasts call for above normal temperatures and normal rainfall.
NORTHWEST – Potential: Normal to above normal.
Temperatures have been above normal and precipitation has been below normal for the area for the past month. Live fuel moistures are average or slightly below average in most areas and have been measured at 80% in central Oregon to 100% in eastern Washington. 1000 hour dead fuel moistures have been normal in the west and slightly below normal in the eastern portions. Measurements range from 13% in eastern Washington to 25% in northwestern Oregon. The central portions of the area are showing moderate drought conditions as measured by the Palmer Drought Index (PDI). Long-range weather forecasts call for normal warm and dry conditions for the month.
CALIFORNIA – Potential: Normal.
Precipitation has been below normal in the south and normal in the north. Temperatures have been above normal in the south and normal in the north. Live fuel moistures are in decline in both zones with timber fuels at around 90% and between 60 to 100% in southern forests. Some moderate drought conditions still exist in southern California and in eastern portions of the Sierra Nevada in the north as measured by the PDI. 1000 hour fuel moisture is below normal for this time of year with measurements of 12%. Actual fire occurrence numbers are near normal and acres are slightly above in the north and below in the south as compared to the 5 year averages. Long-range climate prediction calls for above normal temperatures and normal rainfall for the month.
NORTHERN ROCKIES – Potential: Normal to above normal.
Precipitation has been below normal in much of the area and temperatures have been mostly normal. Live fuel moisture is ranging from 50 to 200% and 1000 hour dead fuel moisture is measured between 9 to 25%. North Dakota is expected to see below normal fire activity due to above average precipitation received during last month. Long-range climate prediction calls for normal temperature and rainfall to occur for the month. PDI indicates moderate to severe drought conditions exist in mainly eastern and central Montana. Fire occurrence and acres reported burned are well above the 5 year averages.
GREAT BASIN – Potential: Above normal.
Temperatures have been above normal during the past month while precipitation has been below normal through the area. Live fuel moisture are around 100% in the north and 65 to 100% in the south which is below the average values for the area. 1000 fuel moisture is being measured at 10% in the West Great Basin and 5 to 20% in the East Great Basin, which is below normal and normal. PDI indicates moderate and severe drought for most of the area. Long-range forecasts call for above normal temperatures and normal precipitation for Nevada and above normal precipitation for southern Utah. Overall, weather conditions are being reported as two to three weeks ahead of normal. Lightning activity in the past two weeks indicates that the northern edge of the monsoonal flow pattern has arrived.
SOUTHWEST – Potential: Normal to above normal.
Precipitation has been normal to above normal everywhere except in northern New Mexico, where it has been below normal. Temperatures have been normal in most parts of the region except northern Arizona, where they were above normal. Live fuel moisture has been measured at 60 to 120% which is normal for most of the area. 1000 hour fuel moisture is 9 to 14% in Arizona and 8 to 20% in New Mexico which is normal for this time of year. The PDI indicates that a large part of New Mexico and all of Arizona is in moderate to severe drought. The exception is south central New Mexico, which is near normal. Fire occurrence is up slightly from the five year average and acreage for the year is up 355% this year. Some significant precipitation has been received since mid June and fire danger has lessened considerably. With the arrival of the monsoon season, it is reasonable to expect this trend to continue.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN – Potential: Normal to above normal.
Temperatures and precipitation have been normal to below normal for the last four weeks. Live fuel moistures have been normal in the north and below normal in the south and west portions of the area with measurements of 95 to 130% in ponderosa pine, pinyon pine and juniper at 80 to 90% and sagebrush at 95%. 1000 hour fuel moistures are measured at 6 to 10% in the west and 11 to 15% east of the Continental Divide which is a little below average for this time of year. Fire activity is expected to be normal with the arrival of the monsoon pattern and above normal if the monsoon is weaker than average and does not move up into the area.
EASTERN – Potential: Normal to below normal.
Temperatures and precipitation have been normal in most of the Eastern Area. Live fuel moisture is at the seasonal normal for this time of year. 1000 hr fuels are being measured in the 20 to 25% ranges for this time of year and are mostly normal. PDI indicates some moderate drought in the western and central portions of the area. Increased precipitation over the past month has contributed to lessening the fire danger situation in the area. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness blow down area continues to be of concern.
SOUTHERN -Potential: Normal.
Temperatures have been normal to above normal and precipitation has been normal to below normal through most of the area last month. Live fuel moisture is averaging 150% which is slightly below normal. 1000 hr fuels are being measured from 16 to 35% and are mostly average. PDI indicates moderate and severe drought conditions continuing through much of the area. July historically has a low occurrence of fire activity and the long-range climate prediction calls for above normal temperatures and normal precipitation, except for portions of the Carolinas and Tennessee, which is forecast for below normal.
Temperatures and Precipitation reflect conditions over the past four to six weeks. The long range forecast is for the next 30 days. Above and below normal is indicated above in the narrative, areas not mentioned fall in the climatological category which means there are equal chances of being below normal (33.3%), normal (33.3%) or above normal (33.3%).
Map describing the wildland fire potential (6 July – 10 August 2000) for areas throughout the country.
(Source: National Interagency Fire Center)
Remarks on Prescribed Burning
At this time of the year prescribed burning operations are conducted routinely.
Fire is an important natural tool for ecosystem management. It can reduce dense vegetation improving wildlife habitat and lessening the potential for large, wildfire disasters. Land managers are directed to prepare a prescribed fire/burn plan for every area of public land that can burn. Some areas require total suppression while others will benefit from a wildland fire. Those areas that will benefit from a fire can be treated by a prescribed fire.
Especially, for the moment, in the southern and southeastern regions of the United States prescribed fire activities will be carried out in the following weeks and months. In this case, fire signals on satellite images can be traced back to this kind of land management activities.
In the Prescribed Fire Position Paper of the Forest Protection Bureau by the Division of Forestry in Florida, prescribed fire activity is described as a land management application that is essential to the practice of forestry, management of wildlife, preservation of endangered plant and animal species, improvement of range conditions and reduction of wildfire damage in the wildland/urban interface areas. While there is general public and landowner concern with increased smoke, reduced air quality, and liability; the general public and landowners benefit significantly from the reduction of devastating wildfire, improved wildlife habitat and forage, preservation of endangered and threatened plant and animal species, and improved management of forest resources. The prospect of severe reductions in the utilization of this management tool is of major concern to Florida’s natural resource managers and conservationists due to the subsequent loss of derived public and private benefits. They suggest the need for legislative attention.
Another report on nation-wide prescribed burning in the U.S.A. was published in International Forest Fire News No.19 (September 1998).
A set of photographic documents on prescribed burning techniques and objectives in the Southeast can be visited in our photo archive.