Below are summaries from the National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook, provided by the National Interagency Fire Center, for the period of May 2021 through August 2021. The full outlook can be located here.

Year-to-Date Statistics:

Year-to-date statistics Number of Fires Acreage Burned
2021 (01/01/21 – 03/03/21) 17,593 457,138
2020 (01/01/20 – 03/03/20) 12,471 257,329
Percentage of 10-year Average 105.83% 51.55%


While the year-to-date acres burned remains below the 10-year average, there were notable large fires in April. This included two Type 1 Incident Management Teams being assigned to large fires in the Southwest during the last ten days of April.

Observations in April:

Warmer and drier than normal conditions continued across the West Coast and into the Southwest in April, with warm and dry conditions also observed in New England. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah had their driest April – March period in 126 years. California and Colorado had their third and fourth driest April – March period, respectively. As such, snowpack is well below average across the Southwest, Utah, California, and portions of Nevada and Colorado, with large expanses of severe to exceptional drought across these areas.

Drought Forecast:

Recent rainfall has improved drought conditions slightly in the Northeast, the Southeast, Texas, the Central Plains, and northeastern Colorado. Drought conditions are forecast to continue for much of the west and southwest, due to unseasonably hot temperatures and low precipitation levels. The most extreme drought conditions are expected in the Four Corners States, California, and Nevada.

US Drought Monitor as of 4 May 2021

Wildland Fire Outlook for May-August:

La Niña conditions are expected to continue, but La Niña has weakened. El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) neutral conditions will begin in the period of May through July and could continue through the fall. Due to the unseasonably dry and hot conditions caused by La Niña, it is possible for wildfire season to begin early in California, with increased fire potential for both Northern and Southern California beginning in June and July, respectively.

May 2021 Wildland Fire Potential Outlook

June 2021 Wildland Fire Potential Outlook

July 2021 Wildland Fire Potential Outlook

August 2021 Wildland Fire Potential Outlook

Source: NIFC

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