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Southwest Wildland Fire Outlook
May through September, 2003

Potential: Normal to Above Normal

Southwest Area ERC Curve 2003

This spring, fire danger across portions of New Mexico and western Texas have been above average due to long-term drought and the lack of spring moisture. However, precipitation during March and April has helped to avert an overly active early season.

Above normal temperatures forecasted through July and widespread vegetative dieback due to insect and disease damage are expected to result in a relatively short but active fire season. Area average ERC values are expected to peak between the critical 90th and 97th percentiles between late May and early July, which correlates with the peak potential for large fire activity (see image; to find out more about ERC charts, click here.).

ERC values are not expected to reach record levels. Expect normal initial attack activity through mid-May, with an increase likely from late May to early July. Annual and perennial fuels should undergo a normal spring green-up and become available to carry surface fire as they cure during the typical dry late spring and early summer period. More grass and brush fires are anticipated this season than in 2002. Resources needed for initial and extended attack, and potential project fires will be greater than usual from May to the start of the monsoon. At this time, there are no clear indications about the strength or timing of the monsoon.

For the latest in fire restrictions and closures, go to the Southwest Area Wildland Fire Operation's website.


National Interagency Coordination Center. 2003. "National Wildland Fire Outlook: May through September, 2003." 5/21/03. Released April 25, 2003 by the Predictive Services Group.

Last edited May 27, 2003

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