2009 Fire Season Outlook for Western US

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.

Image courtesy of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

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

NIFC Podcast: Robyn Heffernan, NIFC Meteorologist Discusses 2009 fire season outlook

Update: Fire information can be found at InciWeb. Here’s the latest on Santa Barbara’s Jesusita Fire.


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Tree Seedlings Available for Planting on California’s Post-Fire Forest Restoration

California experienced a severe fire season last year. Many thousands of forested acres have burned both on private and public lands.

CAL FIRE assistance programs can help California forest landowners whose forests were affected by fires. One of these programs is the Tree Seedling Nursery Program. This program sells tree seedlings for reforesting forest ownerships. Tree seedlings are available to the public for reforestation, erosion control, watershed protection, windbreaks, Christmas tree and fuelwood plantations, and approved research projects. All seedlings grown are from seed well adapted to the various climate zones, growing conditions and elevations found within the state.

At present, CAL FIRE Magalia Reforestation Center still has good inventories of appropriate seedlings available. Yet, demand may overwhelm the supplies. Therefore, landowners need to first check with the Magalia Reforestation Center’s staff to determine what is available and before submitting their orders.

The CAL FIRE Nursery Program also has a staff of foresters who can provide free reforestation advice to landowners. In addition to these foresters, CAL FIRE has forestry assistant specialists at most local Unit Offices who can also provide free reforestation advice or direct individuals to the type of professional consultant they may need to assist them. These specialists also can provide information on limited State or Federal cost-share funding that may be available.

Keep in mind, seedling prices vary by age (one or two year old), how they were grown (bareroot or in containers) and by the quantity purchased. Seedlings grown cover the majority of California’s timberland conifer species, with a few hardwoods and some non-natives grown for specific landowner objectives.

For more information, please contact the Magalia Reforestation Center at 6640 Steiffer Road, Magalia, 95954, Phone: (530) 872-6301 (email: cdfnursery@fire.ca.gov).

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