The National Interagency Fire Center’s Predictive Services office details the potential effect of El Nino this Spring for all regions of the U.S.
Generally, California (with the exception of the extreme N/E corner) will see above average precipitation through April.
Arizona is wet and getting wetter through the Spring.
Washington and the Northwest can expect some easing of the drought.
West Texas, New Mexico can expect above average precipitation through April.
Year to date fire activity has been 42% of normal burning 26% of average acres.
What this means for the upcoming fire season.
Fuel moisture will be way up and some areas of the Sierra’s may stay green through the Summer. NIFC notes significant tree and brush damage and freeze-kill brush from heavier than normal snowfall will contribute to fuel loads.
For California NIFC predicts the potential for significant fire through June is normal. History contradicts this sentiment. Fewer acres burn in a Summer following an El Nino event. Unless driven by unusual or out of season wind events June and July should be quiet. We should see the inverse of 2008.
I don’t expect any significant wildfire activity in the state until the Santa Ana winds return to Southern California counties in the Fall.
If the drought pattern holds in the Northwest that is where the Summer action will take place.