August wildfire potential outlook reminds us to stay prepared

Blog Post created by megan.fitzgerald-mcgowan Employee on Aug 4, 2020

August outlook for wildland fire potential showing above normal conditions across western states and below normal across the south.

On August 1st the National Interagency Fire Center’s (NIFC’s) Predictive Services issued their newest National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for August, September, October, and November 2020. While the main objective of this outlook is to improve information to fire management decision makers for proactive wildland fire management, it is also of use to wildfire preparedness practitioners and residents on what they can do to respond to the risk.

 The maps help to visualize fire potential - red means there is an increased fire potential based on conditions and green means below normal.  As you can see there are many states under red between now and November but it doesn't have to mean doom and gloom if people plan and prepare beforehand.

 We know that preparing for wildfires and lowering home ignitability is a year-round event – not limited to a weekend or two leading up to summer. Many of you have done some excellent work this year, this a reminder to keep it going.  It might be time to revisit those weekend projects to see if additional maintenance is needed.  My family spent a lot of time this spring clearing out pine cones, needles, and oak leaves, only to have summer storms blow in and put more debris back on the ground close to our home.  We'll be going back out for round two of clean up soon.

Girl pushing lawnmower through tall grass

To help you be ready, here's a list of activities that may need a follow up:   

  • Check those gutters - they should be clear of all needles, leaves, and other debris
  • Look around the base of your home, 0-5 feet from foundation should be free from combustible material (bark mulch, leaves, needles, plants, other debris)
  • Trim and clean up dead/decadent plants
  • Keep lawns and native grasses mowed to a height of four inches.

 Remember, small actions can made a difference. Visit our Preparing Homes for Wildfire page for more tips and handy fact sheets that you can share with your friends and neighbors.

Sign up for NFPA Network to stay up to date with the latest news and information on key wildfire issues. You can also follow me on twitter @meganfitz34 more wildfire-related topics.

  As we navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our webpage.