Storm Track wildfire outlook for summer 2022

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In assessing whether conditions are favorable for wildfire development, we must consider both short-term and long-term conditions. The short-term includes the daily weather. Long-term conditions include drought and climate trends for temperature and precipitation.

For daily weather conditions, there are four main factors; dry soil/vegetation, low relative humidity, hot temperatures which increases evaporation, and strong wind. When these factors come together, fire can start and spread rapidly. High fire danger days are common over the summer, but the greater concern comes when we consistently have high fire danger days.

For long-term conditions, persistent drought is directly related to fire potential. Fortunately, the Northland is not experiencing drought. In fact, record high water levels and flooding remains a greater concern. The drought outlook moving through the rest of the summer is dependent on climate trends.

The climate continues to be influenced by the La Niña phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation. La Niña is expected to weaken but continue through the summer, and it could make a comeback this fall and winter. La Niña pattern is more typical of winter. In general, the jet stream is weaker in summer, but a La Niña summer for us is still typically on the cool side.

The current temperature outlook for June, July and August from the Climate Prediction Center is leaning warm across the country. The Northland is currently looking to be near to above normal overall. The precipitation outlook is dry over the Great Plains with the Northland expected to have equal chances at above or below normal precipitation.

In conclusion, we are not currently experiencing a drought, and fortunately, drought conditions are not expected to worsen through the summer. Wildfire potential is not expected to be significant in the Northland. However, we still have to do our part to prevent wildfires. Always check local burn restrictions and be aware of any fire weather headlines in effect for your area.