Northern California Again Poised to Add Millions of Tons of Carbon Dioxide to the Atmosphere Due to Wildfires
Northern California saw nearly a million acres burned last summer. This year may see a repeat of last season. That assessment comes the National Interagency Fire Center‘s (NIFC) Predictive Services, which, in its assessment, evaluated the condition of wildland fuels, weather forecasts, and climate and drought data.
The Potential Is There, Ignitions Are The Unknown
“Whether or not we see that potential develop into another severe fire season in California depends on ignitions. Last year we had wide-spread lightning storms move through that area and ignite multiple fires… Overall, the areas with the greatest fire potential this summer are Arizona, New Mexico, California and north-central Washington.” – Rick Ochoa, fire weather program manager at NIFC
Washington, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona Have Above-Average Potential
In addition to California, north-central Washington is expected to see above normal potential or wildfire activity, based on persistent drought conditions. The Southwest, from Texas to Arizona, also is expected to see above normal fire potential until what is expected to be a robust monsoon season moderates conditions there beginning in early July.
The Rest of the West to See Lower Fire Threat
Elsewhere around the West, however, winter snowpacks and cooler early spring temperatures are expected to moderate conditions and keep the fire potential in the normal range for most other states. Although drought conditions are expected to persist in Nevada, the lack of moisture and subsequent lack of fine fuels are expected to result in a below normal fire potential. In Alaska, ample moisture over the winter, combined with a forecast for normal to below normal temperatures results in below normal potential for fire activity there as well.
The full seasonal assessment can be viewed at: http://www.predictiveservices.nifc.gov/outlooks/outlooks.htm
Update: Fire information can be found at InciWeb. Here’s the latest on Santa Barbara’s Jesusita Fire.