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Wildfire Risk to Shift from West to East This Fall

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NIFC: Wildfire danger to travel east as summer ends, fall begins

Wildfire danger will remain heightened in California and other west regions of the U.S. until Fall, when wildland fire risk will shift largely eastward, the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) predicted in its latest outlook.

The latest National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook covered August through the end of November, and noted a significant shift in wildfire risk that should occur as Summer winds down and Fall takes hold.

High risk in California, Oregon

Through the end of August and into September, California, and portions of Oregon, Montana and Wyoming, will all experience significant wildland fire potential, the NIFC reported. The abundance of finer fuel and brush areas in those regions add to the heightened threat, along with higher-than-usual plant life mortality due to drought conditions.

The Southwest, along with Rocky Mountains region and southern part of the Great Basin, however, should see some relief from this heighten wildland fire risk due to intermittent monsoon conditions.

As Fall begins, the majority of these regions are expected to see typical seasonal relief from wildfire risk that comes along with cooler temperatures and more frontal system activity. The exception will be portions of California -- particularly Southern California, that will continue to experience heightened wildfire risk due to due to the effects of long-term drought.

Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook August 2016
Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook August 2016 (via NIFC)

Increased danger in southeastern states in Fall

The NIFC expects risk to largely shift from the West Coast to the East Coast in the Fall, with southeastern states being most affected. Southeastern states should experience increased wildland fire potential across broad regions, mostly as a result of long-term dryness. La Niña may also contribute to the heightened risk in these regions, as it could bring warmer and drier-than-normal conditions southern portions of the U.S.

Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida (northern), South Carolina, Virginia, and even more northern states like Maryland and Delaware are included in the broad south/southeastern region expected to see increased wildfire risk this Fall.

Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook November 2016
Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook November 2016 (via NIFC)

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Matt Mills Matt Mills has been involved in various aspects of online media, both on the editorial side and on the technology side, for more than 16 years. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and is currently involved in multiple projects focused on innovation journalism.