US National Interagency Fire Center Wildfire Update for October 17th: 1 of 72 Partially Contained

The US National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) reported on Monday (10-17-22) that the total number of large wildfires and complexes currently burning in the US continues to hold steady at 72, unchanged from last week’s report. More than 776,012 acres are currently burning across 6 different states. With 2 new wildfires have been reported within the past 24-hours.

There are now more than 3,400 wildland fire personnel assigned to these incidents across the US. The NIFC National Fire Preparedness Level remains at a Level 2 out of a possible 5, as the wildfire season continues to extend well into 2022Q4.

Most of the wildfire activity is now located in the state of Idaho, where there are currently 24 wildfires burning. There are 22 wildfires burning in Montana, 14 wildfires in Washington State, 7 wildfires in Oregon, 4 wildfires in Oklahoma, and 1 wildfire in California. Of the 72 wildfires currently burning, only 1 has been partially contained.

The current number of wildfires continue to well exceed the 2021 level, which up until now held the record high level, and is more than double the 10-year average. The NIFC offers the following updated comparison:

  • From 1/1/22 through 10/17/22, 56,449 wildfires have been reported and they have burned 6,940,567 acres.
  • From 1/1/21 through 10/17/21, 47,749 wildfires had been reported and they had burned 6,501,751 acres.
  • The 10-year average (2012–21) for the same period is 47,289 wildfires having consumed 6,676,660 acres.

NIFC meteorologists continue to report that weather conditions in many parts of the US remain favorable for wildfire ignition or expansion. Meteorologists are reporting dry and windy post-frontal conditions are expected on much of the Plains into the Lower Missouri, Mid-Mississippi, and western Ohio Valleys as north-northwest sustained winds of 15-25 mph gusting 20-40 mph develop amid minimum relative humidity of 12-30%. Elevated to locally critical conditions are most likely from eastern Nebraska and western Iowa through eastern Kansas and much of Missouri. Temperatures will be well below normal across much of Plains, Midwest, Great Lakes, and the Missouri, Ohio, and Mississippi Valleys, especially later in the day and overnight as cold air pushes south from Canada. Above normal temperatures and minimum relative humidity of 8-25% will continue across much of the Inland Northwest, Great Basin, eastern California, and into the northern Rockies. Thunderstorms and showers are likely to continue across portions of New Mexico, west and south Texas, and the Great Lakes, including snow in portions of the northern Great Lakes. Thunderstorms are likely on portions of the Gulf and East Coasts, with showers spreading into the Northeast.

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