Here is the Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for September, October, November. As you all are aware, we turned a corner in mid-August in the North Fork with the moisture we received. A big change that significantly slowed the fire season for us. And the good news is that we are forecast to continue to be a “normal” fire season through September, October and November. Plus, with a La Nina forecast for Montana this winter, you all need to be tuning up your snowblowers and getting your firewood laid in.
While that is good news for Northwest Montana, Oregon and Washington will continue to be busy through September, Northern California gets no relief until December. Grim.
In contrast to the July Outlook, the August Outlook projects Above Normal Wildland Fire Potential to extend through September in addition to August. The July Outlook had us returning to normal in September. Above Normal conditions will persist in October on the Eastside. Northwest Montana should return to normal in October. Here are some excerpts: Continue reading August National Wildland Fire Potential Outlook
This is as we would expect given our dry spring and spreading drought. The good news is that we in the North Fork are in a better position than most of the West. That is not much consolation since the outlook across the West is grim. Specifically for the Northern Rockies, here are some excerpts: Continue reading June 1st National Wildland Fire Potential
Well, we are almost out of the woods for Fire Season 2020 in the Northern Rockies. We have areas of dry fuel with potential in Eastern Montana, although the forecast is for normal fire potential across the Geographic Area.
Our rainfall in Northwest Montana on September 24 and 25 provided significant relief, but the warmer daytime temperatures leave us with some potential. More moisture will help a lot. Note there are other parts of the country that will continue to have active fire seasons.
This will be the last Outlook I post until Spring 2021. Feel free to access the monthly updates on your own, posted the first of each month.
Wait for a bit more before burning your piles, unless you enjoy chasing skunking fires. And when you do burn, be sure and know what the wind is going to do. Thanks, and be safe out there!
Well, there is Good News and Not as Good News in this Month’s Wildland Fire Potential Outlook!
The Good News is that Montana is now not forecasted for an “Above Normal” September as it has been in the past two Outlooks.
The “Not as Good” News is that things are critically dry across the State. Energy Release Components, an indication of the volatility of the fuels, are in the 95th to 97th percentile, which is pretty much pegging the meter.
For the most part, we have avoided the large fires associated with these seasonally dry fuel conditions. I think the lack of numerous starts from dry lightning storms factors into the equation. And, as we move into September, the potential for dry thunderstorms drops off.
However, there are numerous other ways fires can start – most of them human. Three fires started earlier this week along Highway 200 outside of Plains/Paradise where a flat tire on a trailer sparked fires with the wheel contacting the pavement throwing sparks. Unattended campfires are always a concern – even transitioning out of the summer camping season into the fall hunting season with hunter fires.
So, continue to be careful out there. If we get some of the forecasted moisture alluded to in the narrative, we’ll get out of this fire season relatively intact. More time to work on fuels projects for next fire season! Only You….
As expected, Northwest Montana continues to be projected as above normal for fire activity through August and September. We can all be glad that the moisture we got at the end of June and the first of July pushed our fire season out from becoming active in early to mid July.
But, with the current temperatures, low overnight temperature and humidity recovery, and live fuels suffering due to the combination of those factors, we can become pretty volatile pretty quickly.
The other aspect of this Outlook indicates we will have enough moisture in the air masses pushing up from the 4 Corners area to stimulate convective activity – dry thunderstorms. So, we can wind up with a lot of new starts from lightning.
Probably not telling any of you anything you don’t know – but it is a good time to get those fire tools shaped up, tanks mounted in 4 wheelers, and watching the lightning maps.
Thanks to the Hungry Horse/Glacier View Fire Staff – Andy Huntsberger and Staff – for installing the new Smokey Bear/Fire Danger Sign on the North Fork Road at the Camas Creek Road Junction. We all appreciate the service our wildland fire protecting Agency, the Flathead National Forest, provides. (Note: the tethers on the sign will come off once the concrete cures.)
And thanks to FireSafe Flathead for promoting the idea. The timing is excellent. It won’t take much more hot and dry weather until we are seeing High Fire Danger.
The Current Wildland Fire Potential Outlook has been posted, and it refines the forecast for our fire season in Northwest Montana. We did see benefit from the significant moisture received over the past two weeks, so our season will be delayed until later in July. That is good news. But August and September are still forecast to be Above Normal Fire Activity for Northwest Montana.
Here is the important stuff for the Northern Rockies:
“Normal fire potential is now anticipated to continue through most of July due to the recent passage of moist, Pacific troughs and beneficial precipitation in the latter half of June and forecast to continue in a weaker version by various CPC outlooks into the middle of the month. In late July and August, Above Normal significant wildland fire potential is anticipated to develop in all the Western PSAs 01-09 and expand eastward into central and southeastern Montana, possibly as far east as western North Dakota. One reason is the predicted monsoonal lightning pattern which could be robust under a strong ridge of high pressure during that time with above average potential lightning ignitions in dry fuel beds. Above Normal potential will continue for those same areas in September with the outlooks calling for warmer and drier than average conditions.”
August and September will be busy for us. Be prepared!
Don’t miss our Annual Firewise Day at Sondreson Community Hall on Wednesday July 8 beginning at 9:30 a.m. The Agenda is attached. Coffee and light refreshments will be served by volunteers wearing facemasks and gloves.
Featured will be a powerful video about the Camp Fire that burned through Paradise California in 2018.
Other speakers will cover the updates to the Flathead County Community Wildfire Protection Plan, the North Fork CWPP, Hazardous Fuels Grant opportunities, the upcoming fire season forecast, and an update on the Frozen Moose Fuels Projects.
Capacity of the Hall during COVID is set at 50 people. We respectfully request that you wear facemasks indoors. If you don’t have one, masks are available at the Hall for a suggested donation of a dollar.
There is no potluck following the Firewise meeting due to COVID, so feel free to bring your own lunch.
The Inter Local is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m.