The 2012 fire season is really just starting to get into gear. While fires do occur at any time of the year, the most volatile time is in the summer and early fall months when the fuel becomes the driest. This is especially true in the Western states.
So far this year, it's been a rather slow start despite some of the hype from the National News Media. That being said there is one huge fire still burning in New Mexico. The Whitewater-Baldy fire has consumed over 263 acres and is only 30 percent contained. This is one of 22 active, large fires with two fires being contained in the last 24 hours.
Here are some statistics to show why I have said that this has been a rather slow start to the season.
So far in 2012, there has been 22,976 fires burning 838,853 acres.
In 2011 to date, there was 29,857 fires burning a much larger 3,450,882 acres.
The 10-year average to date is 32,576 fires burning 1,422,752 acres.
Therefore, 2012 has been well below the 10-year average for the number of fires and acres burned and far below the number of acres burned to date last year. Though interesting, we are in the infancy of the meat of the fire season. A lot can change over the next several month before the fire season peaks late summer and early fall.
Parts of Southern California are likely to have temperatures near 90 degrees again by Monday and Tuesday.
A prolonged rain-free pattern is setting in.
By this time in 1998 there was twice as much rain that had occurred to date compared to 2015-2016.
Could an unusual El Nino precipitation pattern be as simple as looking at the state of water temperatures?
One thing that I find interesting is that the pattern since fall has not been your typical El Nino storm pattern.
There are signs of a possible stormier pattern beginning the week of Jan. 18.