The Northern Rockies and parts of the Great Basin are at highest risk of wildfire during August, according to the monthly Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook, issued on Wednesday by the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC).
“The big concern over the next month is the Northern Rockies, and the tri-state area of the Great Basin, where the boundaries of Oregon, Idaho and Nevada converge,” said Ed Delgado, fire weather program manager at NIFC. “Those areas will continue to have hot and dry conditions, and in August, they’re likely to experience thunderstorms.”
Above-normal wildfire potential is also forecast for parts of the Midwest, primarily due to continuing drought conditions. Arkansas, Oklahoma and southern Missouri are at most risk.
Jeremy Sullens, wildland fire analyst, said the conditions are ripe for higher-elevation, timber fires to ignite in the West during August. “We could very well see the first of the active timber fires over the next few weeks, particularly in parts of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, as those higher-elevation fuels continue to dry out,” he said.
Parts of California have above-normal potential, but activity there likely will peak in the fall, Delgado said.
Most of the large wildfires in the West to date have been on lower-elevation rangelands and burned in “fine” fuels, primarily grasses and brush.
As the fire season winds down in the Southwest, and other areas of the country are forecast to have below-normal fire potential, fire managers can use the August outlook as a tool to position greater numbers of resources in areas of critical concern.
The Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook is published the first day of each month by NIFC. The map and narrative can be found at www.predictiveservices.nifc.gov.