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Published April 27, 2011
Wildland Fire Outlook(May–July 2011)
Data Source(s): National Interagency Coordination Center, Southwest Coordination Center
The moderate-to-strong La Niña event, which is currently weakening, pushed most storms north of Arizona and New Mexico this winter. As a result, the landscape is parched in many regions of the Southwest. Looking ahead, forecasts call for below-average precipitation, above-average temperatures, and expanding and intensifying drought conditions in the next several months. The current conditions, couple with these forecasts, have led the Predictive Services at the National Interagency Fire Center to call for above-normal significant fire potential in the Southwest. Significant fire potential is the likelihood that a wildland fire event will require additional fire management resources from outside the area in which the fire originated. According to Predictive Services, dry conditions and above-normal fire potential will expand north and west during the May–July period, covering almost all of New Mexico and about two-thirds of Arizona (Figure 13). Lightning-ignited fires typically peak in early to mid June.
Conditions might improve in mid to late May and June in southeastern New Mexico if moisture moves in from the southeastern U.S. It is unclear if the monsoon season will begin early and deliver above-average rainfall to the region—the monsoon typically begins around the first week in July for southern regions of Arizona and New Mexico. The NOAA–Climate Predictions Center currently is forecasting neither a strong nor weak monsoon.
The National Interagency Coordination Center at the National Interagency Fire Center produces seasonal wildland fire outlooks each month. The forecasts (Figure 13) consider observed climate conditions, climate and weather forecasts, vegetation health, and surface-fuels conditions in order to assess fire potential for fires greater than 100 acres. They are subjective assessments, that synthesize information provided by fire and climate experts throughout the United States.
National Wildland Fire Outlook web page:
Southwest Coordination Center web page:
Southwest Climate Outlook Staff
- Michael Crimmins, UA Extension Specialist
- Stephanie Doster, Institute of the Environment Editor
- Gregg Garfin, Founding Editor, Institute of the Environment
- Zack Guido, Managing Editor, CLIMAS Associate Staff Scientist
- Nancy J. Selover, Arizona State Climatologist
- Jessica Dollin, CLIMAS Publications Assistant
- Dave Dubious, New Mexico State Climatologist
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
The CLIMAS Web site contains official and non-official forecasts, as well as other information. While we make every effort to verify this information, please understand that we do not warrant the accuracy of any of these materials.... Read full disclaimer