Wildfires - May 2013


Updated: 13 June 2013

Number of Fires & Acres burned in May (2000-2013)
Number of fires & acres burned in May 2000-2013
Acres burned per fire in May (2000-2013)
Acres burned per fire in May 2000-2013

Overview

During May, wildfire activity was much below average. An estimated 6,331 fires burned over 106,000 acres. This was the second least May acreage burned and the third least number of fires for the month. The average fire size of 16.8 acres was the fourth least on record. The below-average wildfire activity during May marked a continuation of below-average wildfire activity since the beginning of 2013. The acreage burned, total number of fires, and average fire size were all record low for both the spring season (March-May) and the year-to-date period.

1-Month Wildfire Statistics*
May Totals Rank
(out of 14 years)
Record 2000-2010
Average
Value Year
Acres Burned 106,243 13ᵗʰ Most 1,069,997 2011 340,608
2ⁿᵈ Least
Number of Fires 6,331 12ᵗʰ Most 18,469 2001 9,509
3ʳᵈ Least
Acres Burned per Fire 16.8 11ᵗʰ Most 161.5 2011 37.2
4ᵗʰ Least
3-Month Wildfire Statistics*
March–May Totals Rank
(out of 14 years)
Record 2000-2010
Average
Value Year
Acres Burned 226,782 14ᵗʰ Most 3,246,509 2011 924,820
Least on Record
Number of Fires 15,700 14ᵗʰ Most 35,909 2006 26,835
Least on Record
Acres Burned per Fire 14.4 14ᵗʰ Most 161.5 2011 33.3
Least on Record
Year-to-Date Wildfire Statistics*
January–May Totals Rank
(out of 14 years)
Record 2000-2010
Average
Value Year
Acres Burned 247,787 14ᵗʰ Most 3,450,882 2011 1,059,751
Least on Record
Number of Fires 18,004 14ᵗʰ Most 41,845 2006 32,407
Least on Record
Acres Burned per Fire 13.8 14ᵗʰ Most 115.6 2011 31.5
Least on Record

*Data Source: The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC)

Discussion

U.S. Drought Monitor map from 6 June 2013
U.S. Drought Monitor map from 6 June May 2013
Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

May was wetter than average for much of the northern U.S., while parts of the Southern Plains and Southwest were drier than average. Despite the dry conditions in locations where May wildfires are more prevalent, wildfire activity during May was much below average. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, drought conditions continued to improve along the eastern periphery of the core drought areas of the Great Plains. Beneficial rainfall also helped to alleviate drought in Florida. In the West, prolonged dryness and above average temperatures were associated with the westward expansion of drought conditions. In early June, nearly the entire state of California was experiencing at least moderate drought.


Citing This Report

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Wildfires for May 2013, published online June 2013, retrieved on November 23, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/fire/2013/5.