US National Interagency Fire Center Wildfire Update for the Week Ending March 15th

The US National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) reported that as of Friday, March 15th, 14 large new wildfires were reported during the week, 6 of which have already been fully contained. Large fires remain uncontained in Kentucky, Wyoming, and Oklahoma. Containment of the Smokehouse Creek and Windy Duce Fires in the Texas panhandle has increased significantly and fire behavior in the area is currently being reported as minimal.

The National Preparedness Level remains at a of 1 out of 5.

A Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory has been issued for a large area of the southern Great Plains encompassing northwest Texas, western Oklahoma, southwest Kansas, southeastern Colorado, and far eastern New Mexico, the NIFC said. The advisory highlights the conditions that contributed to the outbreak of recent fires in the high plains of Texas and adjacent areas of the southern plains, which continue to pose a risk for ongoing fires and new ignitions. In addition to unusually warm temperatures and dry conditions, compounded by seasonal and storm winds, the grass and other herbaceous fuel loading is greater than normal due to abundant growth during 2023’s wet growing season.

The number of active large fires (not including individual fires within complexes) stands at 9. Currently, there are 147,115 acres involved in active fires. The states with active fires are Oklahoma with 6 and Kentucky, Texas, and Wyoming with 1 each.

The latest year-to-date comparison is as follows:

  • Year-to-date through March 15th, 4,093 wildfires have been reported, and they have burned 1,409,885 acres.
  • During the same period last year, 5,908 wildfires were reported, and they had burned 76,910 acres.
  • The 10-year average (2014–23) for the same period is 7,108 fires and 302,516 acres burned.

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