International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Seasonal fire danger forecasts for the USA

J. Roads A D , F. Fujioka B , S. Chen B and R. Burgan C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Scripps Experimental Climate Prediction Center, University of California San Diego, 0224 La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.

B USDA Forest Service, Riverside Fire Laboratory, 2955 Canyon Crest Drive, Riverside, CA 92507 6099, USA.

C USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, PO Box 8089, Missoula, MT 59807, USA.

D Corresponding author. Telephone: +1 858 534 2099; fax: +1 858 534 8561; email: jroads@ucsd.edu

International Journal of Wildland Fire 14(1) 1-18 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF03052
Submitted: 23 June 2003  Accepted: 5 April 2004   Published: 7 March 2005

Abstract

The Scripps Experimental Climate Prediction Center has been making experimental, near-real-time, weekly to seasonal fire danger forecasts for the past 5 years. US fire danger forecasts and validations are based on standard indices from the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS), which include the ignition component (IC), energy release component (ER), burning index (BI), spread component (SC), and the Keetch–Byram drought index (KB). The Fosberg fire weather index, which is a simplified form of the BI, has been previously used not only for the USA but also for other global regions and is thus included for comparison. As will be shown, all of these indices can be predicted well at weekly times scales and there is even skill out to seasonal time scales over many US West locations. The most persistent indices (BI and ER) tend to have the greatest seasonal forecast skill. The NFDRS indices also have a weak relation to observed fire characteristics such as fire counts and acres burned, especially when the validation fire danger indices are used.


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