Wildfire Potential Outlook warns of significant fire risks in the Pacific Northwest

A forecast of potential fire risks for the summer of 2019 by the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise points to another heavy wildfire season for the Pacific Northwest.

A wet April brought ample moisture through much of the month, but outlooks through spring and into summer continue to indicate warmer than average conditions for the region. In addition, the Pacific Northwest has officially entered into what’s termed a “moderate drought,” which could bring an early fire season to the Cascades.

Last year marked Oregon’s most expensive firefighting season ever, costing more than $510 million. Nearly 850,000 acres burned, well above historic averages and bringing choking smoke to the valleys. At some points the air was so bad it was equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.

Long-range outlooks this summer suggest fire danger will rise to be above average during the summer, especially west of the Cascades.

August marks the beginning of the peak of the western fire season.

The maps below illustrate the forecast for this summer’s wildfire potential across the U.S.: