Fuel Loading – Grasses The very dry spring across central and southern Utah has resulted in a light annual grass crop. Carryover grasses from 2013 are still standing in many places and will contribute to this years fuel loading. Elsewhere across Idaho and northern Utah the annual grass crop will likely be near normal.
Observed Fire Occurrence / Fire Behavior YTD Fire Occurrence has been below normal due to the recent cool and wet weather. Moderate fire behavior has been observed on dry, windy days.
May Outlook Weather A powerful spring storm will track through the Great Basin during the first week of the month brining cool, wet conditions to the area. This cool, wet trend will likely continue across Idaho and western Wyoming through the month while Utah will begin to see warmer, drier weather return to the state. Fuels Annual cheatgrass will likely be cured by the end of the month across southern Utah and be available to burn at the beginning of June. Sagebrush live fuel moisture will likely continue on a near normal green up cycle and not reach critical low levels until June.
May Fire Potential Outlook Eastern Great BasinNational NORMAL Fire activity will be light through most of the month but will pick up toward the end across southern Utah.
June Outlook Weather As El Nino threatens to strengthen this summer, June will likely be on the cooler side with near normal precipitation across the area. An extended hot, dry and windy period is not expected during June; however, occasional wind events will likely create a short term spike in fire potential. By the end of the month temperatures will likely be increasing leading to an increase in fire potetnial. Fuels Annual grass should be cured across lower elevations area wide by mid to late June. Sagebrush across the lower elevations region wide will be on a downward trend and approach normal, low levels. Dry, heavy fuels across southern Utah will contribute to fire control problems.
June Fire Potential Outlook Eastern Great BasinNational NORMAL June is normally a busy month for fires across Utah and southern Idaho. This is expected to be the case this year. If the cool signal doesn’t fully materialize, southern Utah and southwest Idaho may see above normal fire activity in June due to dry fuels.
July/August Outlook Weather A delayed start to the typical ‘monsoon’ may occur this year, allowing warm and dry weather to spread across Utah during July. The August weather pattern is quite uncertain at this time as it hinges on the transition to an El Nino. There is a chance this could bring cooler weather to Idaho and normal precipitation, but the confidence is very low in this time frame. Fuels Most fuels will be cured and available to burn region wide. The exception to this is over Western Wyoming and far north and east Idaho. The above normal snowpack and slow melt off will delay the curing of fine fuels and drying of heavy dead fuels in these areas.
July/August Fire Potential Outlook Eastern Great BasinNational Fire activity is expected to be normal across most of the area during these peak fire season months. Fire potential should be below normal over western Wyoming and far east and north Idaho. Southwest and possibly central Idaho have the potential to be especially busy this summer if the atmosphere stays warm and dry.
The End Send Questions/Comments To Shelby Law, EGBCC