Wildfires - June 2003


June saw a sharp increase in wildfire activity in the western half of the U.S. in 2003. Close to a million acres of land had been burned as of the first week of July, though this is well below the 10-year average of over 1.6 million acres by the same date. Although parts of the West saw drought improvement in spring 2003 there is still persistent dryness in many areas and fire danger is high to extreme in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Seasonal (January 1-July 9) wildfire statistics, according to the National Interagency Fire Center:
As of July 9 Nationwide Number of Fires Nationwide Number of Acres Burned
2003 29,125 993,934
2002 45,617 3,155,402
2001 43,693 1,240,789
10-year Average 45,394 1,664,566

One the major fires in June was the Aspen Fire in Arizona. Over 83,000 acres burned as of July 9 in the Coronado National Forest about 17 miles north of Tucson, Arizona (see image above). Other large fires have occurred in Utah, Washington and Oregon with numerous other smaller and/or newer fires burning in many western states.


Citing This Report

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Wildfires for June 2003, published online July 2003, retrieved on October 22, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/fire/2003/6.