August 3, 2020 – The official Predictive Services outlook calls for drier and warmer than average conditions in the North Ops region in August, followed by closer to average conditions from September through November. The above normal cured fine fuel crop will be vulnerable to rapid spread rates and extreme fire behavior during dry breezy weather patterns, which will become more common beginning in mid September.

The SW Desert monsoon pattern is expected to impact the North Ops region with near to below normal lightning amounts into early September. However, due to very dry fuels any lightning poses a high risk of large fire development.

The main risk areas for lightning fires are the northern and eastern mountains, above 3000 ft. Most areas at 3000 ft and above have Above Normal Significant Fire Potential in August.

All areas are in the Above Normal category in September.

In October the focus for Above Normal Significant Fire Potential is on areas from the western Cascade-Sierra slopes to the coast. All areas not mentioned above have “Normal” significant fire potential, and all areas return to Normal in November.

In August “Normal Significant Fire Activity” is defined as near 1 large fire in each of the Bay Area PSAs while the remainder of the PSAs average between 2 and 6 large fires. In September “Normal” is defined as 1-3 large fires per PSA. In October “Normal” is defined as 1.2 or fewer large fires per PSA. All PSAs average below 1 large fire in November.

August-November 2020 North Ops Highlights

  • Fuels of all size-classes drier than average
  • Above normal loading of cured fine fuels below 3000 ft elevation
  • Warmer and drier than normal in August, then closer to average
  • Lightning poses a bigger threat of large fires in Aug and early Sept. N-NE/Offshore wind events become a bigger threat of large fires beginning mid Sept
  • Above Normal Significant Fire Potential above 3000 ft in August
  • Above Normal all areas in September
  • Above Normal Wrn Cascade-Sierra slopes to the Coast in October
  • Normal Significant Fire Potential all areas in November