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Published August 25, 2010
Southwest Fire Summary(updated 8/11/10)
Data Source(s): Southwest Coordination Center
Wildfire activity has tapered off during the last month due to an increase in monsoon precipitation across most of the Southwest in the latter part of July. Monthly rainfall for July generally totaled more than 100 percent of average in most of Arizona and New Mexico, with the exceptions of western Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and a few other areas. In the areas with above-average precipitation, temperatures were around 2–4 degrees Fahrenheit below average, while areas with average to below-average precipitation levels were warmer than average.
In the Southwest, more than 153,000 acres have burned in Arizona and New Mexico between January 1 and August 10. Fires charred more than 60,000 acres in Arizona and almost 93,000 acres in New Mexico and lightning has caused about 60 percent of the wildfires in both states (Figure 8a). The total number of acres burned in the Southwest is drastically less than the annual average of approximately 414,000 acres. This year, the below-average fire season was due in part to a wet winter and spring, which increased soil and fuel moisture levels.
Currently, there are no new reports of large wildfires in the Southwest, and all existing wildfires have been contained or are being monitored (Figures 8b–c). The observed fire danger class for most of Arizona and New Mexico is low to moderate, according to the Wildland Fire Assessment System (WFAS).Notes:
The fires discussed here have been reported by federal, state, or tribal agencies during 2010. The figures include information both for current fires and for fires that have been suppressed. The top figure shows a table of year-to-date fire information for Arizona and New Mexico. Prescribed burns are not included in these numbers. The bottom two figures indicate the approximate locations of past and present “large” wildland fires and prescribed burns in Arizona and in New Mexico. A “large” fire is defined as a blaze covering 100 acres or more in timber or 300 acres or more in grass or brush. The name of each fire is provided next to the symbol.
These data are obtained from the Southwest Coordination Center website:
Southwest Climate Outlook Staff
- Michael Crimmins, UA Extension Specialist
- Stephanie Doster, Institute of the Environment Editor
- Dan Ferguson, CLIMAS Program Director
- Gregg Garfin, Founding Editor, Institute of the Environment
- Zack Guido, CLIMAS Associate Staff Scientist
- Gigi Owen, CLIMAS Assistant Staff Scientist
- Nancy J. Selover, Arizona State Climatologist
- Jessica Swetish, CLIMAS Publications Assistant
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
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