Why register? ...To Enhance Your Experience
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post Fire Risk Assessment-2004

    Fire risk assessment points warning at eastern Oregon and
    Washington
    stfjb
    By JEFF BARNARD
    AP Environmental Writer
    GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) - Thanks to continuing drought, Eastern
    Oregon and Eastern Washington can look forward to above-average
    fire danger for the fifth straight year under the latest consensus
    outlook from federal meteorologists.
    West of the Cascades, the 2004 preliminary fire risk assessment
    from the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in Portland
    projects normal fire danger. The southeastern corner of Oregon also
    falls within the normal range.
    Based on winter precipitation, snowpack, longterm drought and
    fuel buildup in forests, the outlook could change significantly,
    depending on rainfall and temperatures, when it is updated in May
    and again at the end of June, said Paul Werth, fire weather program
    manager for the coordination center.
    "Right now, according to our statistics, it looks like we would
    need an extremely wet three-month period coming up here to really
    ease the fire danger situation," Werth said. "If it stays dry,
    (elevated fire danger) could spread across the Cascades onto the
    west side, too."
    The outlook was developed at a gathering of federal government
    climatologists and fire meteorologists last week in Phoenix, Ariz.
    It is based on fire and weather patterns since 1970, last winter's
    precipitation and snowpack, longterm drought, and fuel buildup in
    forests,
    "Many of the areas east of the Cascades have had four to five
    years of drought," said Werth. "That is one of the drivingM
    fctors. We have had an unusually mild and dry March. What that
    produced was an early snowmelt from the mountains. Usually the peak
    of the snow occurs around April 1. This year that occurred around
    the middle of March."
    Oregon's statewide snowpack was 125 percent of normal March 1,
    but recent warm weather dropped that to 85 percent of normal by
    April 1, Werth said. Washington saw its snowpack drop from 95
    percent of normal to 88 percent in the same period.
    The risk assessment differs from a climate-based forecast from
    the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station's Mapped
    Atmosphere Plant Soil System team in Corvallis.
    Based on the consensus of four climate models run through a
    single wildfire computer model, that climate-based forecast warns
    of elevated fire risk West of the Cascade Range in both Oregon and
    Washington.
    In Oregon, the climate-based forecast points to the southwestern
    corner of Oregon that burned in the 500,000-acre 2002 Biscuit fire
    and the northern Coast Range that burned in the 1930s and later in
    the Tillamook Burns. The model also points to the areas around
    Lakeview and Baker City in Eastern Oregon.
    In Washington, the climate-based model indicates elevated risk
    on the Olympic Peninsula. A larger area of risk spreads across
    Eastern Oregon from Moses Lake north to the Canadian border.
    "What I find really intriguing is that Coast Range stuff in
    Oregon," said Ronald P. Nielson, bioclimatologist for the Pacific
    Northwest Research Station in Corvallis.
    Nielson said the climate models failed to forecast last year's
    B&B Complex fire in the Cascades near Sisters, however when actual
    weather history was run through the models in what is called a
    hindcast, they showed elevated fire danger in that area. They also
    missed grass fires in Eastern Washington.
    The climate models did better on a national scale, spotting
    concentrations of wildfires in Oklahoma and Arkansas, northern
    Minnesota and Michigan, the northern Rocky Mountains and New
    Mexico. The models did not forecast the devastating chaparral fires
    in southern California, perhaps because they do not include
    simulations of the late summer Santa Ana winds that drove them.
    On the Net:
    Northwest Interagency Coordination Center:
    http://www.or.blm.gov/nwcc/
    Pacific Northwest Research Station fire risk map:
    http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/corvallis/mdr/mapss/

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


  2. #2
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post

    LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Depleted snow pack in the Rocky Mountains
    and a warmer-than-usual March point to increasingly difficult
    drought conditions in western Nebraska, two state climatologists
    said Thursday.
    During the last month, melting snow has cut snow pack in the
    Rockies by more than 20 percent in areas that feed Nebraska rivers
    and streams, climatologist Mark Svoboda said. That probably will
    reduce runoff later this summer, when it is most needed, he said.
    More threatening to western Nebraska's recovery is that reduced
    snow pack means fewer rains in the west this summer, state
    climatologist Al Dutcher said.
    Heavy snow pack provides moisture for storm clouds as weather
    fronts move over the Rocky Mountains, Dutcher said. When that snow
    pack is reduced, less moisture is available for cloud formation, he
    said. The result is that rain skips western Nebraska and does not
    fall until the clouds reach eastern Nebraska or Iowa - a phenomenon
    familiar to Nebraskans over the last four years.
    "This is not what we wanted to see, not at this time," Svoboda
    said. "Timing is everything."
    Svoboda noted that Lake McConaughy - Nebraska's largest
    reservoir - is still suffering from more than four years of
    drought. It stands at 671,700 acre-feet, which is 38.5 percent of
    capacity and 7 feet lower than it was this time last year, he said.
    Inflows are 50 percent to 60 percent of what normally runs into the
    reservoir, Svoboda said.
    If severe drought continues through the summer, the lake could
    end this irrigation season with about 200,000 acre-feet of water.
    "The lake could still drop another 30 to 40 feet to record low
    levels," Svoboda said. "Under the worst-case scenario ... Big Mac
    could be dry by the end of the 2005 season."
    Dutcher also noted that the Platte River is likely to run dry
    east of Kearney - the third year it would run dry.
    While western and central Nebraska appear to be facing an uphill
    battle this year, eastern Nebraska from Omaha south appears to be
    near recovery, Svoboda and Dutcher said.
    Continued rains this spring and summer will be needed for the
    area to be declared safely out of drought, he said.
    "We don't have a lot of margin for error," Svoboda said.
    Lincoln Mayor Coleen J. Seng asked Thursday for people in that
    eastern Nebraska city to continue voluntary water conservation like
    watering lawns and washing cars only on certain days each week.
    Voluntary measures will help fend off the need for mandatory
    restrictions if dry conditions continue, Seng said.
    Svoboda and Dutcher spoke at a meeting of the state's Climate
    Assessment Response Committee. A subcommittee of the group offered
    a list of several recommendations to help deal with the possibility
    of continued drought. That list includes encouraging farmers to
    rotate crops to conserve soil moisture, increasing funding for the
    Farm Mental Health Hotline and working with the Nebraska Emergency
    Management Agency on a possible statewide drought declaration
    through the governor's office.
    Other recommendations included working with the University of
    Nebraska to determine an amount lost to drought, as well as working
    on wildfire dangers, blowing dust from cropland tillage and
    coordinating drought-management efforts of various state agencies.
    "A lot of these things need funding," said Steve Soberski with
    the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources. "It's something we
    have no control over."
    The group's Risk Assessment Committee will decide which
    recommendations to adopt. A meeting of that committee was
    tentatively set for next Thursday.

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  3. #3
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - This year's fire danger is higher than
    normal, with the six-year drought and early snow melt increasing
    the likelihood of a bad wildfire season, according to fire
    officials.
    "Essentially, all of the higher elevations or forests of Utah
    are looking at above-normal fire potential," said Dave Hogan, a
    Bureau of Land Management meteorologist based in Salt Lake City.
    The National Interagency Fire Center has included southern Utah
    as one of three areas with the greatest fire risks, along with
    Southern California and the Four Corners region of Arizona.
    Factors contributing to the higher-than-normal fire danger,
    Hogan said, include the continuing drought and winter snowpack that
    has been melting early this year.
    That early melt means an extended dry period in the foothills
    and mountains where dead, dry trees already increase the fire risk.
    "Either they die from lack of water or they're dying because
    bugs get to them because they're weak," Hogan said.
    Insects are wreaking the most damage in the mountains of
    southeastern Utah, on the south slope of the Uinta Mountains, and
    on Cedar Mountain near Cedar Breaks.
    Drought has turned the dead vegetation bone dry, with only 3 to
    4 percent water content, as compared to the usual 5 to 6 percent.
    In some areas, such as the rangelands north of Cedar City, the
    fire risk appears more normal. The early drought in the area has
    stunted grasses, providing less vegetation to potentially burn.
    Spring and summer rainfall brings on more grasses and more fuel
    for fire if the weather turns hot and dry and lightning storms
    spark blazes. But abundant rains could lessen the fire threat, said
    Kathy Jo Pollock, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman with the Utah
    Interagency Fire Center.
    "But again, that all depends on Mother Nature," Pollock said.
    Meteorologists say it is too early to predict long-term weather
    patterns for the end of spring and summer.
    Fires burned about 148,000 acres in Utah last year, including
    32,000 acres that were part of prescribed burns. In 2000, almost
    228,000 acres burned throughout the state.


    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  4. #4
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post

    RENO, Nev. (AP) - From the brittle hillsides of Southern
    California to the drying fields of Idaho, from Montana to New
    Mexico, a relentless drought is worsening across most of the West
    where a once-promising snowpack is shrinking early, water supplies
    are dwindling and the threat of wildfires is already on the rise.
    "Most of the West is headed into six years of drought and some
    areas are looking at seven years of drought," said Rick Ochoa,
    weather program manager at the National Interagency Fire Center in
    Boise, Idaho.
    Arizona faces its worst drought on record.
    New Mexico farmers are bracing for dramatic reductions in water
    supplies, and in parts of southeast Idaho, the only farmers who
    will get water this summer might be those with water rights dating
    to the late 1800s.
    On the edge of the Sierra, lingering drought is pitting
    residents against the Reno country club that hosts a national golf
    tournament in a battle over water from a mountain creek.
    "Some part of the West has been in a state of drought since the
    winter of 1995-96," said Kelly Redmond, regional climatologist for
    the Desert Research Institute's Western Regional Climate Center in
    Reno.
    "For the last year or two, it has extended all the way from the
    Mexican border to Canada pretty consistently," he said.
    An unusually warm, dry March melted snowpack and increased
    wildfire threats, especially in southeast Oregon, half of Arizona,
    most of New Mexico and parts of Colorado.
    The U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service forecasts the
    potential for water restrictions and widespread crop and pasture
    losses in central Nevada, southern Idaho, most of south-central
    Montana and eastern and southwestern Utah.
    "Drought? What drought? It rained here a couple of years ago,"
    said Dick Larsen, spokesman for the Idaho Department of Water
    Resources.
    He's straining for humor because most of southern Idaho is in a
    category the U.S. Agriculture Department calls "exceptional
    drought," along with parts of southwest Montana.
    That's a step worse than "extreme drought," which the USDA
    says best describes the condition of other parts of Montana, Utah,
    Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon and Colorado.
    Those states are heavily dependent on melting snow for water
    supplies - snow that has rapidly disappeared the past month across
    the region.
    Snowpack showed half or less the normal March precipitation
    level in the Intermountain West, Southwest, Northern Rockies,
    central Idaho, Oregon and California. The driest basins were in
    central Arizona, where less than 70 percent of normal seasonal
    precipitation was reported.
    Most of the West was "sitting reasonably well" at the end of
    February, Redmond said.
    "A lot of places had near-average snowpack. But we had one of
    the warmest Marches on record across and we didn't get any
    precipitation almost anywhere in the West," he said.
    "So not only did we not add to our supply in March, which is
    usually a very healthy month, but the temperature was so warm that
    the melting started early," he said.
    Significant snow melt into the Merced River at Yosemite National
    Park in California began on its earliest date in 87 years, Redmond
    said.
    "The situation has been repeated all over the West," he said.
    In Idaho, "the further south and east you go, the worse it
    gets," Larsen said.
    One of the hardest hit areas is in the southeast corner of the
    state at Bear Lake, which provides water to parts of Idaho, Wyoming
    and Utah.
    "They are looking at historic low levels of water. It's
    entirely possible there will be no irrigation water available for
    farmers down there," Larsen said.
    Arizona is on the verge of its worst drought in recorded
    history, according to John Sullivan, associate general manager of
    the Salt River Project's water group.
    For nine years running, precipitation and runoff into the
    Phoenix area's reservoirs have been far less than normal, and the
    state has recorded four of its five driest years of the century in
    the past 10 years, hydrologist Charlie Ester said.
    Two-thirds of New Mexico is in severe drought condition or
    worse, said Dan Murray, water supply specialist for the USDA's
    conservation service in Albuquerque, N.M.
    "In the northern part of the state, we get our peak snowpack
    about April 1 but this year it pretty much peaked out about the
    first week of March."
    That could mean a shortage of the water New Mexico shares with
    Texas and especially hurt the city of Sante Fe which gets much of
    its water from the Santa Fe River, Murray said.
    The warmest March since 1934 was recorded in Reno, where
    residents have asked the state engineer to re-evaluate the Montreux
    Golf & Country Club's use of water from Galena Creek. They don't
    care about the PGA Tour and the Reno-Tahoe Open. They say there
    won't be enough water for their pastures.
    "You are going to have a new range war, the farmers and
    ranchers against the golf courses," Rick Taras, president of the
    Big Ditch Co., told the Reno-Gazette Journal last week.
    In contrast, some parts of the West - western Oregon, Washington
    and Northern California west of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada -
    have near normal snowpack.
    The overall water supply situation in California statewide is
    "not great, but it's OK," said Frank Gehrke, chief of snow
    surveys for the California Department of Water Resources.
    There's more concern about moisture in the soils and forests and
    the potential for another year of raging wildfires.
    "In that respect, Southern California is not doing particularly
    well. They've had quite a few dry years in a row and certainly
    didn't do much catch-up this season," Gehrke said.
    The National Interagency Fire Center identified three areas with
    the greatest fire risks - Southern California, the Four Corners
    states of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and southern Utah, and the
    Intermountain region east of the Cascade Mountains across Idaho and
    western Montana.
    Big fires already have burned 10,000 acres in Arizona and 8,500
    acres in Colorado.
    "In terms of fire, I think everybody is real nervous," said
    Chris West, vice president of the American Forest Resource Council
    in Portland, Ore.
    "We had lots of wet weather in Oregon this winter, but we had a
    very dry March. If we don't get some April showers, we are going to
    have a dry situation with a lot of fuels sitting there," he said.
    Parts of Nevada, California and Arizona are dependent on water
    from the Colorado River system and its two largest reservoirs, Lake
    Mead and Lake Powell, which together can hold about 50 million acre
    feet but are only about half full.
    "They've been really low the last five years. We thought this
    was going to be a decent year, but now it's starting to look like
    that is not going to be the case," Redmond said.
    Utah and Montana may have been hardest hit during March, Redmond
    said.
    "Utah has gone through four or five years of drought already
    and they were finally looking at a decent kind of average snow
    melt, but now they are looking at one of the worst on record and it
    all happened in a month," he said.
    Likewise, parts of Montana have suffered through the driest
    consecutive four years on record and prospects for the year aren't
    much above average, he said.
    Larsen likened the cumulative effects in Idaho over the years to
    "a snake starting to eat its own tail."
    "The snowpack went down, so we had to keep tapping the
    reservoirs so that last year we just absolutely emptied our
    reservoirs," he said.
    "The saddest thing about all of this is we can already see next
    year's train wreck coming," Larsen said.
    "Pray for rain. That's about all we can do."
    ---
    On the Net:
    Drought Monitor: http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html
    Western Regional Climate Center: http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/
    NOAA Drought Information Center: http://www.drought.noaa.gov/
    National Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov/

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  5. #5
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post

    DENVER (AP) - Experts released a sobering wildfire forecast for
    parts of the Rockies and Plains on Thursday, warning that years of
    drought have put parts of Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota in
    particular danger.
    Much of Colorado from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to
    the west face the highest potential for a busy fire season. The
    Black Hills of South Dakota and parts of western Wyoming are areas
    to watch, but all of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, South Dakota and
    Nebraska are at risk for an above-average fire season, the Rocky
    Mountain Area Predictive Services said in its preliminary 2004
    wildfire season report.
    "Last year was a busy season. This year doesn't look to be any
    better," said Ed Wagoner, a volunteer firefighter and the mayor of
    Newcastle, Wyo.
    Fire managers may have to deal with a lack of resources and
    fatigued personnel as the season wears on, and residents and
    tourists will have to pay attention to fire prevention, the report
    said.
    The good news? April showers have helped reduce immediate fire
    danger. And despite rapidly dwindling snowpacks and an alarmingly
    dry March, conditions look better than in 2002, when more than 1
    million acres in the region burned - more than twice the region's
    five-year average.
    The forecast will be updated in May and again around June as the
    late-summer monsoon season becomes clearer. But long-term drought
    remains a concern, said Tim Mathewson, a Bureau of Land Management
    fire meteorologist and author of the forecast.
    In non-drought years, a two-week dry period might not lead to
    large fires.
    "But a two-week dry period in a drought year, we're back in the
    swing of things," Mathewson said. "We can get back into fire
    season real quick, as we saw in March."
    Last month, a yard fire in Larimer County sparked a blaze that
    grew to 8,900 acres and destroyed a home and garage.
    "The knee-jerk reaction was, uh-oh, here we go again with
    another 2002. But April precipitation has been very beneficial,"
    Mathewson said. "It has resulted in a more extensive green-up than
    we saw in 2002."
    That could prove dangerous later in the season, though, as
    grasses dry out and turn into fuel for late summer fires. "The
    green-up is more of a short-term relief for us," Mathewson said.
    The outlook for fire danger varies across the region.
    Beetle infestations in the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming,
    the Black Hills and in west-central and northwest Colorado
    eventually could pose problems as the bugs kill off trees and
    create more fuel, the report said.
    In South Dakota, Black Hills snowpack was reported at just 25
    percent of normal, lowest in the region. Mathewson said
    meteorologists expect the Black Hills to get more precipitation
    before its fire season ramps up.
    Eastern parts of Kansas and Nebraska fared best in the
    five-state region after a wetter than normal spring.
    While much of western Colorado appears at risk for a bad season,
    a patch in the San Juan basin is among the most improved in the
    state, fire managers said.
    Near Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado Bicycling Adventures
    president David Livingston was hoping for the best this year. He
    estimated his business lost $100,000 in sales in 2002, when smoke
    and wildfires discouraged tourists.
    "We're hoping for some more moisture," Livingston said.
    "Snow, rain. We don't care. Bring it on."
    ---
    On the Net:
    Report: http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/fire/docs/rmaseasonal.pdf

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  6. #6
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post May 5th

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Conditions are ripe for a damaging
    wildfire season in Utah's elevated forest land, according to
    projections from the National Interagency Fire Center.
    The agency has listed southern Utah as one of three areas with
    the greatest fire risks, along with Southern California and the
    Four Corners region of Arizona.
    Though more than 8,300 acres of California are already ablaze in
    an early start to the fire season, officials don't expect trouble
    in Utah for a few more weeks.
    The agency has already battled fires in the Northwest, Arizona
    and Idaho.
    "I think those are indications that much of the interior West,
    which would include Utah, is going to have an active fire season,"
    said Rick Ochoa, national fire weather manager at the Boise,
    Idaho-based fire center.
    Problem spots in Utah include the Cedar Mountain area in the
    southwest, the Manti-La Sal National Forest in the southeast, and
    the southern-facing slopes of the Uinta mountains, said Dave Hogan,
    meteorologist in the Eastern Great Basin Coordination Center for
    the Interagency Wildfire Dispatch Center.
    Hogan said the state's 6-year drought, combined with an early
    snowmelt, above-average tree mortality, insect attacks weakening
    plants and low levels of moisture in dead plants leave officials
    bracing for worse than normal wildfires.
    "We're expecting a repeat of record or near-record dry fuels
    conditions from last year," Hogan said.
    However, despite those conditions, fires burned only about
    148,000 acres in Utah last year, including 32,000 acres of
    prescribed burns. In 2000, almost 228,000 acres burned throughout
    the state.
    Hogan said the severity of this year's fire season depends on
    the weather.
    "If the weather cooperates, we can still have normal or
    below-normal seasons," he said. "The things we look for are fewer
    lightning strikes and higher humidity.
    "If humidity is high enough, then crews can handle fire
    starts."
    Hogan estimated that about 80 percent of Utah's wildfires are
    caused by lightning. That's much different than areas like
    California, he said, where many wildfires are caused by people.
    Utah's drought has left the state's forest land at greater risk
    of fire because the moisture has weakened existing vegetation. At
    lower elevations, typically covered in grass, drought stunts the
    growth of vegetation so there's less to fuel a fire.
    Hogan said Utah's wildfire season could start a week or two
    ahead of its average schedule. For southern Utah, he said the onset
    is usually in early June, while in northern Utah it typically
    begins near the end of June or in early July.

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts