Wildfires - May 2007

Since the beginning of 2007, fire activity has been concentrated primarily in those parts of the country that have experienced drought and abnormally dry conditions. During May, large wildland fire activity was reported across Florida, southern Georgia, and eastern Tennessee, as well as in parts of California and the Southwest.

According to estimates from the National Interagency Fire center, over 36,000 wildland fires were reported across the U.S. through the end of May, with over 1.3 million acres burned. In the Southern area (which encompasses 13 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia), there have been over 25,000 fires reported, with over one million acres burned so far in 2007 (accounting for over two–thirds of the fires and acres burned).

On 8 May sub–tropical storm Andrea fanned flames and transported smoke plumes as the storm was located off the Southeast coast. In mid–May, fire activity had broken out in Arizona as well as in California. A GOES satellite image from 22 May shows the fires and smoke plumes associated with the fire activity in southeast Georgia.

2007 Wildfire Statistics (Source: NIFC)
Totals as of June 3rd Nationwide Number of Fires Nationwide Number of Acres Burned
6/3/2007 37,355 1,341,109
6/3/2006 43,077 2,583,037
6/3/2005 25,262 394,461
6/3/2004 32,339 541,548
6/3/2003 21,755 418,524
6/3/2002 31,122 1,200,154
6/3/2001 34,199 729,743

Dead fuel moisture levels were unusually dry in May. The 10–hour fuel moisture levels on 31 May were extremely dry throughout most of the Southwest, as well as across parts of the Southeast. Medium to larger fuels (i.e., the 31 May 100–hr and 31 May 1000–hr fuel moistures) were also unusually dry over the past month, with the driest conditions across a large area that encompasses the Southwest and Great Basin.

The Keetch–Byram Drought Index (KBDI), a widely used index for fire risk, had the largest potential for wildland fire activity in the contiguous U.S. in southern California, Nevada, western parts of Arizona, and across southern Georgia and Florida. In addition, the satellite–dervied experimental fire potential index on May 31st showed anomalously high fire potential across a large area of the Southwest and Great Basin.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Wildfires for May 2007, published online June 2007, retrieved on January 19, 2018 from https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/fire/200705.