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Wildfire season predictions indicate southern interior most at risk

Forecast fire severity rating for July 2018
Forecast fire severity rating for July 2018

Could we be headed for another disastrous forest fire season in British Columbia?

According to monthly and seasonal forecasts from the  Canadian Wildland Fire Information System the southern interior of the province could be headed for another tough fire season with an extreme and/or very high severity ranking. The central interior and northern parts of the province fare a little better with high and/or moderate ranking.

The monthly and seasonal forecast maps present predictions of fire weather severity based on the monthly and seasonal severity rating. Predictions are based on Environment Canada’s monthly and seasonal forecasts, information contained in the Canadian Wildland Fire Information System (CWFIS), and advice provided by provincial agencies.

Before and during the fire season, monthly forecast maps are generated at the beginning of each month (i.e., April to September). The first four months from the present are based on a 40-member ensemble of predicted monthly temperature and precipitation anomalies using four numeric weather prediction models. Beyond the first four months, forecasts are produced using Environment Canada’s statistical model.

In addition, before the fire season, a four-month seasonal forecast is produced on April 1 and on May 1, together covering the period from May 1 through August 31. After May, creation of a seasonal forecast is suspended.

Forecast maps are available for the following themes:

The Forecast Severity Rating map presents forecasted monthly or seasonal severity ratings. This map shows the predicted conditions unadjusted for climatology. For months based on the ensemble forecast, the map reflects the median station values of the 40-member ensemble.

Forecast severity anomaly for July 2018
Forecast severity anomaly for July 2018

The Forecast Severity Anomaly map presents the ratio of the forecasted severity rating to the average monthly or seasonal severity rating. This map indicates which regions are predicted to be above or below the regional climatological average in a normalized form (where 1 = average conditions). Note: This map alone does not indicate which regions of Canada are predicted to have above-average fire seasons. Such conditions can be approximated by comparing this map with the Forecast Severity Rating map.

Disclaimer: These forecasts are experimental and have yet to be fully validated and calibrated. These forecasts should be viewed not for their accuracy, but for the general trends they present and are to be used as a long-range planning tool by fire resource managers.

More information about the calculations for monthly and seasonal severity forecasts is available in the Background Information.

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