|MODIS Visible Satellite Imagery from 9/30/15|
While these fires are far from the raging infernos we saw earlier this summer, it's still rather impressive for the end of September or beginning of October. However, as we all know this year is different. First off, look at these precipitation totals since the beginning of April
|Idaho Precipitation % of normal 4/2/15-10/1/15|
|Washington Precipitation % of normal 4/2/15-10/1/15|
|Current Fire danger ratings|
So is this danger level unusual for the beginning of October? Since 2006 (earliest year of the graphical archive), the current fire danger has only been matched one time. That was in 2012. All other years saw low to moderate fire danger ratings across the area.
So what was the fire weather like in 2012? This satellite picture tells the story
|MODIS Satellite imagery from 10/4/12|
Just like this year, there were quite a few fires burning during the beginning of October. In fact, based on the satellite image, they were much bigger and included the Wenatchee Complex (southwest of Wenatchee) and the St. Mary's Misson Rd fire south of Omak. So what happened that year? The dry weather and fires continued to burn through the middle of the month, but several days of rain (not necessarily heavy) and cooler temperatures put an end to that fire season.
So what did the weather pattern look like for the end of that fire season? Well leading up to the end of the fire season, the upper-level pattern exhibited a large ridge parked right off the BC/WA coast with dry northwest flow over the region. Also, note the low-pressure area off the California Coast.
|Early October 2012 500 mb pattern.|
|500 mb pattern for Monday afternoon (10/5/15)|
|Mid-October 2012 500 mb pattern (Oct12-14)|
|500 mb forecast for Oct 10, 2015|
|The probability of seeing 0.10" of rain or more in 24 hrs over northern Shoshone County.|
Stay tuned and we shall see if this will truly be the end of a historically warm and dry fire season across the Inland Northwest.