GFMC: Forest Fires in the United States

Forest Fires in the United States

1 October 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 29September 2001 (observation time) and 30 September 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, 29 September 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, 29 September 2001
(Source: WAFS)

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

The TOMS Global Aerosol Hot Spots Page provides screened close-ups of regions with active fires and smoke emissions. The latest available image is from 10 September 2001.

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 (October and October to December 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 September 2001):
“Sea surface temperatures are currently at or slightly above normal across much of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Predicted trends in sea surface temperatures indicate that conditions should not change much for the remainder of the year, except for a possible continued warming. These normal to above normal sea surface temperatures indicate that year should be a neutral year (i.e. no La Niña or El Niño). Under these conditions we can expect normal rainfall over the next several months, with some potential for above normal rainfall if sea surface temperatures continue to warm.”

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.

Urban Fire Disaster Report
Composite satellite scenes depicted by SPOT show the situation on 11 September at 11:55 New York local time.
click here for image 1(pdf file)
Source: SPOT Image

Canadian Space Agency (CSA) RADARSAT-1 Disaster Watch Report
Disaster Watch Reports 14-18/9/2001
Civil Disaster, USA:
13 Sep 01 23:01:35 UTC; F5F-16; cycle 88 orbit 322.11072 duration 0.00406; RT: In -GSS)
14 Sep 01 11:14:44 UTC; S3-16; cycle 88 orbit 329.38711 duration 0.01; RT: In -GSS)
15 Sep 01 10:44:49 UTC; EXTH3-16; cycle 89 orbit 0.38174 duration 0.01; RT: In -GSS)
18 Sep 01 10:57:23 UTC; F2-16; cycle 89 orbit 43.38162 duration 0.01; RT: In -GSS)

Disaster Watch Report 28/9/2001
New York City , New York Tragedy , USA :
28 Sep 01 11:06:01 UTC; S2; cycle 89 orbit 186.38396 duration 0.00428; RT: In -GSS)
Washington, D.C, Pentagon Tragedy, USA :
28 Sep 01 11:06:41 UTC; F3-16; cycle 89 orbit 186.39046 duration 0.00537; RT: In-GSS)

CSA RADARSAT-1 Disaster Watch
c/o: Satellite Operations
Canadian Space Agency
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