GFMC: Forest Fires in the United States
Forest Fires in the United States
29 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.
Fire danger maps for the United States for 28August 2001 (observation time) and 29 August 2001 (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, 28 August 2001
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, 28 August 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 image, 27 August 2001.
Heat signatures (red) and smoke (light blue haze) are visible from fires burning in Montana. The Moose fire has burned 4,700 acres in Flathead National Forest 13 miles north of Whitefish and was 5% contained. The Ear fire has charred 550 acres in Flathead National Forest about 40 miles southeast of Whitefish and was 20% contained. The Toboggan (110 acres), the Bergsicke (500 acres), the Cannon (210 acres), and the Long (210 acres) fires have all scorched parts of Flathead National Forest. (left)
Large heat signatures (red) and smoke (light blue haze) are visible from fires burning in Idaho. The Elk Creek fire has burned 2,690 acres in Payette National Forest and was 80% contained. The Rough Diamonds fire has acorched 6,500 acres three miles northeast of Silver City and was 40% contained.
This information is from the National Interagency Fire Center Wildland Fire Update on
For more information on the recent fire situation see: Recent Media Highlights on Fire, Policies, and Politics , especially Break in weather offers respite for firefighters (26 August 2001), and Researchers Find Mercury Pollution in Wildfires (24 August 2001)
The TOMS Global Aerosol Hot Spots Page provides screened close-ups of regions with active fires and smoke emissions, displayed in the following table.
21 August 2001 22 August 2001 23 August 2001
24 August 2001 25 August 2001 26 August 2001
Smoke over the United States
(Source: TOMS Global Aerosol Hot Spots Page)
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 (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.