Wildfire Outlook: July 2020 – Oct 2020

Below are summaries from the National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook, provided by the National Interagency Fire Center, for the period of July 2020 through October 2020. The full outlook can be located here.

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Saharan Dust Helps to Temper Hurricane Development

The 2020 hurricane season started out at a record pace, but Saharan Dust blowing off the west coast of Africa will keep conditions relatively quiet over the next couple weeks. The dust cloud reached the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday morning, blanketing an area roughly the size of the United States and stretching over 4,000 miles across the Atlantic. 

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Smoke Column

Five Areas with Higher Wildfire Risk Than You Might Think

RedZone has highlighted five lesser-known areas where homeowners have increased wildfire risk

  1. Mid-slope areas
  2. Areas Adjacent to Wildland Fuels
  3. In the Ember Zone
  4. In Urban Canyons
  5. Proximity to Highway Grade

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Critical Fire Weather Conditions Early This Week

Large fire activity picked up over the weekend, especially in the Southwest and Alaska areas. Currently the 30 active, large fires across five states have burned more than 65,000 acres bringing the total for the year to 550k, well below average for this time of year. This week could increase that total as high pressure is approaching the West Coast and will provide a warming and drying trend for most of the southern West. Breezy westerly winds are expected across Arizona and New Mexico and strong northeasterly winds with some of the lowest RH readings of the year across California. In tandem, the conditions will lead to elevated and critical fire weather concern (including red flag warnings) in many places.

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Aerial View of Hurricane

2020 Hurricane Season Outlook

Recently, NOAA released the 2020 Hurricane Season Outlook. Expect a more active and busy hurricane season this year. Below is a summary of the report NOAA released.

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Tropical Storm Bertha Becomes the Second Named Storm Before Hurricane Season Officially Kicks Off


Tropical Storm Bertha

Just a couple weeks following Tropical Storm Arthur forming off the Atlantic coast, another storm system formed off the coast of South Carolina. Prior to formation, the storm caused flooding in Florida after dumping almost 15 inches of rain over Miami. Read more

East Desert Fire Sparks Evacuations In Northern Phoenix

The human-caused East Desert fire ignited Sunday afternoon near 24th Street and Desert Hills Drive in Cave Creek, Arizona. The fire originally only prompted the evacuation of a few homes west of the fire. However, due to wind and slope, the fire quickly grew to 1,000 acres by Sunday Night. Consequently, the forest service ordered additional crews, engines, and aircraft support. Then by Monday morning, the fire spread close to 1,500 acres into the Cahava Springs area, sparking additional evacuations of 130 homes immediately east of the fire. Thankfully overall, the fire has not destroyed any structures or caused any injuries.

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Superb Performance by RZRisk3 on 2018’s Camp Fire

Here at RedZone we take pride in how our technology empowers stakeholders to make informed decisions about wildfire risk. Especially since 2017. Other models often don’t provide an accurate wildfire risk assessment. As a result, Underwriters and Catastrophe Managers spend more time researching additional data. RZRisk delivers the exact resources and information underwriters need to efficiently and confidently assess wildfire hazard, saving them time and money. One of our favorite things to do is to take a step back and evaluate how our risk model performed after wildfires cause losses. RedZone did this recently with California’s most destructive fire ever, November 2018’s Camp Fire.

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Storm Chasers Face COVID-19

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has wreaked havoc on too many activities to count. Add storm chasing to the list! Springtime usually brings all the excitement for the daredevils running towards monstrous storms and tornados. This year, storm chasers not only face the danger of unpredictable weather events, but also the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has shaken several types of storm chasers. Solo goers who chase as a hobby, businesses that chase with tours, meteorologists and/or professors that chase for research and reporting.

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fighting fire

Coronavirus Implications on Fire Response in 2020

Concern over fire response is growing as wildfire season approaches, and the coronavirus implications persist. Wildfire response is likely to be measured and conservative as public agencies too try to reduce the spread of coronavirus. A recent New York Times article suggests firefighters will still respond to wildfires, but a major cloud surrounds the logistics of it all.

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