Wildfires - April 2004
Fire activity began early this year across parts of the Midwest, High Plains, and in Southern California according to the National Interagency Fire Center. The fire season typically begins on May 1st and runs through the end of October. However, the pre-season is often active, as can be seen in the year-to-date statistics below. In April, a large fire was suppressed in northern Colorado early in the month, and several large fires have been reported in Minnesota and parts of the upper-Midwest as well. The majority of large fire activity in April occurred in Southern California, and this activity has continued into early May, as seen in the MODIS image to the left.
|As of April 30, 2004||Nationwide Number of Fires||Nationwide Number of Acres Burned|
Prolonged dryness over the long-term, coupled with severe short-term drought conditions in March, have increased the potential for large fires across the western U.S. The northern Rockies and intermountain West have experienced four to five years of drought, with severe to extreme drought conditions present over the majority of this region. Fine fuels (i.e. 1-hr and 10-hr) are extremely dry across the southwest and four-corners, with 10-hr fuel moistures below 5%. Larger fuels (i.e. 100-hr and 1000-hr) are also anomalously dry across this area, with 1000-hr fuels below 10% in parts of the southwest. Therefore, fire potential indicators are above normal across the majority of the western U.S. at the beginning of the 2004 fire season.