GFMC: Forest Fires in the United States

Forest Fires in the United States

17 August 2001

Wildland Fire Update
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.

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Fire danger maps for the United States for 16August 2001 (observation time) and 17 August 2001 (forecast)
(Source: WAFS)

Dead fuel moisture responds solely to ambient environmental conditions and is critical in determining fire potential. Dead fuel moistures are classed by timelag.

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10-HR Fuel Moisture

100-HR Fuel Moisture

1000-HR Fuel Moisture

Fuel moisture maps for conterminous US, 16 August 2001
(Source: WAFS)

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).

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Keetch-Byram Drought Index Maps for conterminous US, 16 August 2001
(Source: WAFS)

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):

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NESDIS/OSEI NOAA-14 POES AVHRR LAC satellite images,16 August 2001.
Heat signatures (red) and smoke (light blue haze) are visible from various fires.

Image 1: Washington. The Virginia Lake fire (35% contained) and Brewster Complex fire (15% contained) have burned 47,300 acres to the north of Brewster, Washington.
The Icicle fire has burned 1,350 acres northwest of Wenatchee and is 0 percent
contained. The Rex Creek Complex fire (0 % contained) has burned 1,500 acres
northwest of Lake Wenatchee and threatens residences in the Lake Chelan
National Recreation Area. The Bailey Mountain/Action 214 fire and Mt. Leona
Complex fire, to the far north, have charred 600 acres and are both 0 percent
Image 2: Southern Oregon. The Quartz fire has burned 5,500 acres south of Medford, Oregon and is 0 percent contained. The Lakeview Complex fire has charred
179,400 acres near Alkali Lake, Oregon and is 25 percent contained. 
Image 3: Northeast Oregon. The Monument Complex fire (10% contained) has burned 10,000 acres and threatens several structures near Monument, Oregon. The Bridge
Creek fire (60% contained) burned 6,200 acres and forced the closure of
Highway 395 temporarily. The Horse Creek (0% contained), Cavannah
(50% contained), and White Swan (60% contained) fires are new fires that
broke out along the eastern edge of the state and have charred roughly
7,000 acres. 
Image 4: Northern Oregon. The Olallie Lake Complex fire (0% contained), northeast of Marion Forks, Oregon has charred 1,400 acres in the Mount Hood National
Forest and threatens a resort in the area. The fires near Monument, Oregon
consists of the Monument Complex (10% contained) and Bridge Creek
(60% contained) fires which have burned 16,200 acres.
Image 5:  Nevada. The Clear Creek Complex fire (15% contained), Spaulding Canyon fire (15% contained), and Peru fire (90% contained) have scorched 41,500 acres
to the south of Winnemucca. To the east of Winnemucca near Midas, Nevada
the Buffalo Complex fire (30% contained) has burnt 74,000 acres. Structure
protection task forces are in the town of Midas and an evacuation plan
is in place.
Image 6: Northern California. The Trough fire (63% contained) west of Stonyford, California has burned 14,353 acres and has moved into the Snow Mountain ‘
Wilderness and threatens some historic structures. The Blue Complex fire
(40% contained), east of Likely, California has scorched 33,101 acres
and forced the evacuation of Blue Lake and Jess Valley.
All information is from the National Interagency Fire Center Wildland Fire Update.
(Source: OSEI/NOAA)

For more information on the recent fire situation see: Recent Media Highlights on Fire, Policies, and Politics 

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).

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30 and 90-day temperature and precipitation forecast maps (August and August to October 2001)
(Source: National Weather Service)

The Florida Division of Forestry gives the following long-range outlook summary of the recent Fire Weather & Fire Danger Information for Florida (updated June, 2001):
“Normal summer rainy pattern is developing across the state which will greatly reduce the wildfire threat. Current long-range forecasts offer little more than a guess that conditions will be near normal for the next several months. Several forecasts of Pacific ocean sea surface temperatures indicate a potential for a weak El Nino to develop for this winter, which would bring a wetter than normal 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.

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