NOAA in their three-month weather outlook has predicted higher temperatures and lower precipitation for some areas in the Southeastern United States for the months of January through March, 2017. A tool that can be used in the south for residents and foresters to help assess their wildfire risk in this area is South WRAP. It is a mechanism for residents and foresters not only to become educated about their risk but also creates awareness of wildfire-related issues for this region of the United States. Information is available for the stated of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Alabama. There is a public viewer tab which allows anyone to look at wildfire risk ratings by region. You can even draw a point on the map to determine the risk where you live.
According to the National Cohesive Strategy on Wildfire for the Southeast United States, “Year-round fire season: wildland fires burn 12 months a year in the Southeast, which stresses firefighting capacity and resources. Significant wildfire activity: between 2001 and 2010 nearly half of national ignitions and over 40 percent of the nation’s large wildfires occurred in the Southeast, which requires significant resources and tremendous firefighting capacity (NICC).” The document also stated that over 57,000 communities are at risk of loss due to wildfire in this area. On page 18 of the document the value listed of investment in wildfire prevention education and fire-related law enforcement activities are 35 dollars for every dollar invested.
There are many Firewise Communities located in this area of the United States. These communities are working hard to understand their risk and use resources made available by the NFPA with assistance from the US Forest Service to help reduce their risk of loss in the event of a wildfire. Visit NFPA’s Firewise Website to learn how your community can become Firewise.
Maps from NOAA weather outlook predictions