The February 1st index has come out from the National Interagency Fire Center. The next report will come out March 1st. This index predicts an outlook through May. With changing weather conditions this outlook could change. According to the index predictions thus far, “this outlook represent the cumulative forecasts of the eleven Geographic Area Predictive Services Units and the National Predictive Services Unit.” The site further states, “The main objectives of the National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlooks are to improve information available to fire management decision makers. These assessments are designed to inform decision makers for proactive wildland fire management, thus better protecting lives and property, reducing firefighting costs and improving firefighting efficiency.” The Hawaiian Islands are an area predicted by this index with elevated fire risk for all three months.
Using information such as prevailing weather patterns like a warmer and dryer than usual winter for areas of the great plains and areas of the nation that have thus far also experienced lower than normal levels of precipitation, the index had an interesting outlook for the months of March through May. It indicates that states in the plains area such as Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and parts of Illinois have an elevated risk and an above normal fire risk exists for Wisconsin, parts of Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee Valley States.
While many of us all look forward to a warm spring season with no more snow shoveling, and the flurry of new life and flowers, let us also make plans to be Firewise. Wildfires can and do happen throughout the nation. It is everyone’s responsibility to make changes to our homes and surrounding landscape to survive a wildfire event.
The Map was produced by the Predictive Services, National Interagency Coordination Center in Boise Idaho on February 1, 2015.