GFMC: Forest Fires in the United States

Forest Fires in the United States

28 Jul 2003


Latest Satellite Images: 

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Fires in Glacier National Park
Fast-moving forest fires continued to race through terrain at the front range ofthe Rocky Mountains in northern Montana (bottom right) and Alberta, Canada (topright), on July 27, 2003. In Montana, the fires (marked in red) forced thousandsof tourists and staff to evacuate Glacier National Park (image center) late lastweek, while in Canada, the blaze forced many residents of the small community ofHillcrest to evacuate their homes on Sunday, as the fire, moving through thenearby forest at almost 27 meters per minute (89 feet per minute), doubled insize to 70 square kilometers (17,297 acres). This image of the fires wascaptured on Sunday, 27  July 2003, by the Moderate Resolution ImagingSpectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite. Active fire detections made byMODIS are marked in red.

Source: NASA/ EO

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Fires in Washington
Started by lightning on 29 June, the Fawn Peak Complex Fire had grown to morethan 60,000 acres as of 27 July  2003. The fire was about 35 percentcontained and was steadily approaching the U.S.-Canada border. Negotiations areunderway to bring in Canadian firefighters to help battle the spread of thefire. This ModerateResolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image of the fire (marked inred in center) was captured by the Aquasatellite on  27 July. The high-resolution image provided above is 500meters per pixel. The MODIS Rapid Response System provides this image atMODIS’ maximum spatial resolution of 250meters.

Source: NASA/ EO

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Firesin Montana, 25 July 2003.

Source: OSEI

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Fires in Washington, 25 July 2003.

Source: OSEI

More current Information about the fire situation inUnited States from 28 July, See: The National Incident Management Situation Report by NICC

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
    http://www.nifc.gov/fireinfo/nfn.html

  • Year-to-date State-by-State total number of wildland fires and area burned (table)
    http://www.nifc.gov/fireinfo/nfnmap.html

  • Daily locations of large fires (map)
    http://www.nifc.gov/fireinfo/firemap.html

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)
    http://www.nifc.gov/news/RXWFUYTD.htm

Archived NICC Incident Management Reports (recent daily reports and archived daily reports 1994-1997) are provided by the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI)

The National Wildfire Information Interagency provides detailed information on each individual state with active fires.

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 (observed time) fire danger (forecasted)

Latest fire dangermap for the United States (observation time) and forecasted fire danger map forthe subsquent day
(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

Latest fuel moisture maps for conterminousUS
(Source: WAFS)

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) is a soil/duffdrought index. Factors in the index are maximum daily temperature, dailyprecipitation, antecedent precipitation, and annual precipitation. The indexranges from 0 (no drought) to 800 (extreme drought) (details).

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Latest Keetch-Byram drought index map for conterminousUS
(Source: WAFS)

For more Satellite Images displaying recent fires in the US, please visit NASA´SEarth Observatory at:
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/natural_hazards_v2.php3?topic=fire. EarthObservatory provides MODIS and Landsat Scenes of fires allover the planet.

For more information on the recent fire situation in the US see also: 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 to October 2003)
(Source: National Weather Service)

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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