GFMC: Forest Fires in the United States

Forest Fires in the United States

20 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.

click here to enlarge (25 - 35 KB) click here to enlarge (25 - 35 KB)

Fire danger maps for the United States for 19August 2001 (observation time) and 20 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.

click to enlarge (30 - 40 KB)

click to enlarge (30 - 40 KB)

click to enlarge (30 - 40 KB)

10-HR Fuel Moisture

100-HR Fuel Moisture

1000-HR Fuel Moisture

Fuel moisture maps for conterminous US, 19 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).

click to enlarge (30 - 40 KB)

Keetch-Byram Drought Index Maps for conterminous US, 19 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):

click to enlarge (544 KB) click to enlarge (545 KB) click to enlarge (387 KB) click to enlarge (486 KB)

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. Over 63,000 acres have been burned from fires scattered throughout
the state. The Rex Creek Complex fire (0% contained) has burned 8,646
acres and has forced the evacuation for Flick Creek and Prince Creek along
Lake Chelan. The Virgina Lake fire (35% contained), Tonasket Complex
(30% contained) and Brewster Complex fire  (25% contained) have
charred 50,200 acres and have forced evacuations  in areas to the north of
Brewster, Washington. 
Image 2
: Oregon and Washington. Ten fires in the state of Oregon have scorched a total of
270,811 acres and have mandated evacuations in many communities
surrounding  the blazes. The largest fire, the Lakeview Complex fire,
has burned 179,400  acres and is 25 percent contained.
Image 3
:  Nevada and Idaho. The Spaulding Canyon fire (70% contained) and Clear
Creek fire
(50% contained), indicated by the yellow arrows, have
burned more than 99,000 acres to the south of Winnemucca, Nevada. 
The Snow Creek fire
in Idaho, indicated by the white arrow, has
burned 500 acres and is 50 percent contained.  
Image 4
: California. The Trough fire, indicated by the bottom yellow arrow, has burnt
14,705 acres and is 64 percent contained. The Blue Complex fire,
indicated by the upper yellow arrow has scorched 34,207 acres and is
50 percent contained. The white arrows indicate a large burn scar from 
the Observation fire
which has scorched over 100,000 acres in
Lassen County, California.

Information taken 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).

click here to enlarge (72 KB)

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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien