Seasonal Outlook for July October 2022


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Seasonal Outlook for July – October 2022
WEATHER/FUELS/FIRE POTENTIAL:
This past month (June) was cooler than normal in most areas, and wetter in the Mtns of ID and Wrn WY, while southern and western areas were drier than normal (Fig 1). However in the last 2 weeks of June, an unusually early monsoonal surge of moisture brought precipitation of 150-300%+ of Normal to most of eastern UT (Fig 2). ERC values plummeted to monsoonal dormancy levels in many eastern areas while areas in Western Wyoming spent much of the late spring much more moist than normal, but have recently risen to near normal late June levels (Fig 3).
The recent wetness this spring across much of Srn ID and far NW NV has resulted in much higher soil moisture levels (Fig 4) and has resulted in a better than normal grass/fine fuel crop this year. The only limiting factor is ironically, the result of the moist spring, namely the very high Sage live fuel moisture levels, mostly between 150-200% (Fig 5). However, once the LFM falls towards 125% in a few weeks, large fire potential will increase sharply in many of these areas. So given the recent moisture in the east and northeast, the most critical fuel levels have shifted towards the western half of the Great Basin. (Fig 6).
Overall long term drought conditions have begun to worsen a bit across southern areas (Fig 7). A lot of this was related to the dryness across the south the past few months, but will possibly improve as many of these Extreme to Exceptional Drought areas will be receiving abundant monsoonal moisture in the coming weeks.

WEATHER/FUELS/FIRE POTENTIAL:
As for future weather, the current weak La Nina, shifting briefly to neutral will probably not have a strong impact for the rest of this summer. The biggest factor for July will be the ongoing monsoon across southeastern areas of the Great Basin, as well as dryness shifting further west and north (Fig 8). This will begin to shift the focus of fire activity towards areas of northern NV, especially NW areas. The 3 month CPC outlook for Aug-Oct (Fig 9) shows a large scale warming/drying trend, especially for northern areas. The Predictive Services 4month Outlook concurs, with continued monsoonal moisture influence across southern/eastern areas July into August, otherwise a large scale warming/drying for areas further north and west. (Fig 10).
Overall, we expect an “Above Normal” large fire potential shifting to areas of NW NV for July, where areas of abundant grass crop will be combining with LFM levels coming in line to becoming active carriers of fire. There will likely be an uptick of large grass fires across SW ID, limited in July only by still moist sage/brush as well as some patchy greenness in the grass. However by August the LFM in a large portion of Srn ID should reach critically dry levels and “Above Normal” large fire potential will overspread many areas of Srn ID as well as NW NV. During this time it will likely be enough monsoonal moisture lingering across Ern and Srn UT to keep fire activity at lower midsummer normals. By September, longer nights/shorter daytime burn periods should limit fine fuel driven fires, but fuels along the Sierra front are likely to be above the 90th percentile with ”Above Normal” large fire potential. See maps for more details.

Fig 1. (June Precipitation and Temperature)

Fig 2. (Precipitation Last 2 Weeks of June)

Fig 3. (ERC)

Fig 4. (Soil Moisture)

Fig 5. (Live Fuel Moisture)

Fig 6. (100-Hr Fuels)

Fig 7. (Drought & Outlook)

Fig 8. (CPC July 2022 Outlook)

Fig 9. (CPC Aug-Oct 2022 Outlook)

Fig 10. (PS 4 Month Outlook)

Basil Newmerzhycky Meteorologist - Predictive Services Great Basin Coordination Center, Salt Lake City UT

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Seasonal Outlook for July October 2022