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Published May 26, 2011
Wildland Fire Outlook(June–August 2011)
Data Source(s): National Interagency Coordination Center, Southwest Coordination Center
Extreme drought conditions, dry vegetation, above-average temperature forecasts, and intermittent periods of high winds are all factors contributing to above-normal fire potential across most of the Southwest for the June–August period. While southeastern Arizona and southern New Mexico are already experiencing more wildfires than average, Predictive Services at the Southwest Coordination Center expect above-normal significant fire potential to expand across the region in June, including the southern two-thirds of Arizona and the majority of New Mexico (Figure 14). Significant fire potential is the likelihood that a wildland fire event will require additional fire management resources from outside the region where the fire originated.
Dry lightning strikes likely will increase during the weeks leading up to the start of the monsoon, posing even greater chances for increased fire activity. These lightning-caused fires typically peak in mid-June. The onset of the monsoon, expected to occur in early July, could help dampen fire activity. Precipitation outlooks from the NOAA–Climate Prediction Center (CPC) currently show equal chances for above-, below-, or near-average precipitation for June through August, so it is difficult to predict how strong the monsoon season will be. However, there is reason to expect above-average precipitation this summer, as research suggests dry winters are generally followed by wet monsoons in the Southwest (see this month’s feature article for more about the 2011 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
- 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.
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