June/July/August 2023 Wildland Fire Potential Outlook

I’m a little late in posting this, but here is the June/July/August Wildland Fire Potential Outlook.

July, August and September are looking dry for extreme Northwest Montana. The shaded areas are actually west of the Whitefish Divide, but lines mean nothing at that scale.

And this is merely an outlook based on global weather. What we get is what we get. What we do know is that we are dry for June now, even with the moisture that has come. Mountain snowpack is low, which is more of an issue for river floating than it is for fire season.

We should all hope for nice wetting rains spaced weekly through July and August, and the fall rains coming in after Labor Day. Works for me!

Regardless, now is a great time to do your trimming and grass mowing and get prepared for fire season. The July 1 update will give us a better forecast, but we all know we have fire season in July and August, sometimes carrying into September and October. Let’s hope for a short and quiet fire season.

Here is the link to the Outlook itself, and the file is attached:

Reminder: Basic Fire Training Day, Thursday, June 22

Greetings all!!  Here is the Agenda for the North Fork Basic Fire Training Day on June 22nd…

    • We’ll start at Sondreson Community Hall at 0930.  We’ll have coffee, bottled water, and light refreshments available.  Molly will open with brief introductions, then turn it over to Richard Hildner to brief the exercise at the Hildner Cabin.
    • The Group will travel to the Hildner residence at 350 Moose Creek Rd.  Structure Assessment forms will be passed out, the group split into teams, and the teams will be tasked with assessing the structures and the fuels modifications surrounding the structures.  We would appreciate Lincoln Chute, Todd Lando and Gary Mahugh forming the oversight group to put together the “book answers” and to debrief the teams as they report out on their findings.
    • At noon, the Group will return to the Community Hall for their brown bag lunch.  During this time, we’d appreciate it if Gary Mahugh would have some of his standard firefighting tools and supplies available to display and sell.  And Sean Johnson, if you could brief the Wedge Canyon TIP application process, there is time for that.  We don’t have plans to have a projector or laptop available for this event, but if you need a projector, the NFLA has one we can use.  You’ll either need to bring a laptop or let us know you need one.
    • After lunch, Kevin Ulrichsen will lead a discussion about how to suppress fires within the Structure.  We have asked Kevin or Lynn to lead a moment of silence in memory of Doug Barnes who passed away in a house fire.  We would like Gary Mahugh and Lynn Ogle to also participate in the discussion on fire suppression inside the structure.

Molly can wrap up whenever things are done – no later than 3:30.

More information: Basic Fire Training Day poster (PDF format)

September/October Wildland Fire Potential Outlook

Greetings all! The latest Wildland Fire Potential Outlook was released today, and it is as expected. The continued hot and dry weather in early September will give us above normal fire activity in Northwestern Montana:

The good news, of course, is that we did receive a little precipitation in the North Fork – and that was welcome. But, we have two to three weeks of fire season left at least. Days are getting shorter, nighttime temperature and humidity recovery is significantly improving (except in the thermal belts), which really decreases fire activity.

We aren’t out of the woods yet – and we have the potential for some significant fire yet this fall, especially if we remain warm and dry through September into October.

Check out the latest report – and don’t let your guard down! Thanks. Allen

August/September/October Wildland Fire Potential Outlook

Greetings, All!! As you can tell, fire season is upon us, as Lynn Ogle has pointed out.

Here is the latest monthly outlook for August, September and October.
The good news of course is that we benefited from a cold, wet June and the first half of July. The bad news is of course the hot, dry weather that has been parked over us for the past couple of weeks or so. That is forecasted to persist for a while, and we are forecasted to have a more active than normal fire season for the month of August:

Continue reading August/September/October Wildland Fire Potential Outlook

North Fork Fuels Reduction Field Trip, Wednesday, June 15

North Fork Fuels Reduction Field Trip Schedule, June 15, 2022Don’t forget the North Fork Fuels Reduction Field Trip Wednesday, June 15 beginning at Mark and Margaret Heaphy’s place, 11530 North Fork Road at 0930. While there we will talk about fuel modification around structures, and the work that has been done in the North Fork in response to our large fires.

Bring a bag lunch to enjoy at Sondreson Community Hall, while NRCS District Conservationist Sean Johnson goes over the Wedge Canyon TIP project – where grant funding is available to landowners not only within the Wedge Canyon Fire Area, but all forested landowners from Teepee Creek/Ford Work Station north to the Canadian Border. He will cover not only the project area and types of work that qualifies, but also the application process. Continue reading North Fork Fuels Reduction Field Trip, Wednesday, June 15

Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for period beginning June 1, 2022

June 2022 Wildland Fire Outlook
June 2022 Wildland Fire Outlook

Greetings everyone. Here is our first Outlook that can give us a reasonable hint of what the fire season might look like. The good news is that the forecast looks like a “normal” fire season for Northwest Montana – which of course includes the North Fork.

The bad news, of course, is that the rest of Montana, especially east of the Divide, is looking at potentially being significantly above normal wildland fire potential.
The caution for us is that even with the cool spring, and increased snowpack over the past month or two, those factors are transitory. That is, if we wind up turning off hot and dry in early July, the positive effects that the cool, wet spring we had will dissipate quickly. We had that a few years ago, and meteorologists called it a “Flash Drought.” It was not forecasted that summer and caught the meteorologists by surprise. They apologized the next spring for having told us we would have a “Slow Normal” fire season…

So, we need to prepare for a reasonably active fire season, as normal. One factor of course, is that resources will be spread thin with potentially a lot of activity elsewhere in the Northern Rockies, and around the Country.

While these Outlooks are useful, there are limits to their accuracy. The July Outlook will give us a better look at the conditions going into July, and the weather systems that might affect the rest of our fire season.

Stay tuned.

Thanks to all! Remember our Fuels Field Trip on June 15, and our Firewise Day on July 13.

See you all there! Thanks. Allen

Read the full outlook:

September-December Wildland Fire Potential Outlook

September 2021 Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook
September 2021 Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook

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.

See the full report (PDF format) for further details.

August National Wildland Fire Potential Outlook

July 29, 2021 Hay Creek Fire - USFS
July 29, 2021 Hay Creek Fire – USFS

Good Afternoon!  The August/September/October Wildland Fire Potential Outlook was posted this morning, and it doesn’t contain good news for the North Fork or Montana.

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

June 1st National Wildland Fire Potential

I am a little late forwarding out the current National Wildland Fire Potential.  I’ll be sharing this through the fire season until we get our season ending event.

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