US National Interagency Fire Center Wildfire Update for September 6, 2022: Preparedness Level Raised to 4

The US National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) reported on Tuesday (9-6-22) that the total number of large wildfires and complexes currently burning in the US has increased to 69, with more than 475,766 acres across 8 different states currently burning. Two new fires were reported within the past 24 hours. There are now more than 13,000 wildland fire personnel assigned to these incidents.

Today, the NIFC raised the National Fire Preparedness Level to 4 out of a possible 5, citing significant fire activity occurring in multiple geographic areas and an increase in the request for national resources.

Most of the wildfire activity is now located in the state of Idaho, where there are currently 27 wildfires burning. There are 15 wildfires burning in Montana, 9 wildfires in Oregon, 7 wildfires each in California and Washington, 2 wildfires in Texas, and 1 each in Florida and Utah. Of the 69 wildfires currently burning, only 1 has been even partially contained.

The current number of wildfires continues well in excess of the 2021 level, which up until now held the record high level, and is more than double the 10-year average. The NIFC offers this comparison:

  • From 1/1/22 through 9/6/22, 49,03 wildfires have been reported and they have burned 6,300,275 acres.
  • From 1/1/21 through 9/6/21, 43,457 wildfires had been reported and they had burned 5,073,241 acres.
  • The NIFC notes that the 10-year average (2012 2021) for the same time period is 41,731 wildfires reports and 5,663,437 acres consumed.

NIFC meteorologists are predicting very hot, dry, and unstable conditions will be prevalent across much of the West, peaking along thermal trough(s) in California into the Northwest and Great Basin. Widespread temperatures over 100°F are expected, including much of the Central Valley and surrounding foothills above 110°F. Minimum relative humidity will be 3-15% across much of the West and breezy winds are likely to develop in portions of northeast California into southern and central Oregon and in portions of Wyoming. Near record Hot, Dry, Windy Index values are expected across the northern half of California and much of southern and central Oregon as well. Existing and any emerging new fires in these areas will be very active, with increased activity expected on most if not all existing large fires. Isolated mixed wet and dry thunderstorms are possible in the southern and central Sierra into western Nevada and from southwest Colorado into portions of Arizona and southern California over the higher terrain. Scattered thunderstorms and showers are likely from the Gulf Coast through much of the Southeast Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic into the Northeast. Heavy rain is likely from the Delmarva through New Jersey and Connecticut.

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