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Published May 22, 2013
Southwest Fire Summary(data through )
Data Source(s): Southwest Coordination Center
Dry conditions across Arizona and New Mexico since October 1 have set the stage for another potentially active fire season. In Arizona, many parts of the forested Mogollon Rim region have recorded precipitation deficits of up to 4 inches; a few isolated areas have received above-average rain and snow (see page 4). It has been even drier in New Mexico, where many areas have received between 3 and 6 inches below-average rainfall. With the fire season just underway, about 11,000 acres have burned in Arizona and New Mexico since January 1, mostly caused by human activity (Figure 9a). Between January 1 and May 16, 550 fires burned nearly 9,500 acres in Arizona, according to Predictive Services at the Southwest Coordination Center. In New Mexico, 321 fires have ignited this year, charring about 1,500 acres. Only four large wildfires greater than 100 acres are burning or have burned in Arizona, and only one large fires has burned in New Mexico (Figures 9b–c). The number of acres burned in 2013 thus far is lower than it was at this time last year. Two years ago, during the worst fire season on record for the Southwest, almost 350,000 acres in New Mexico and nearly 77,000 acres in Arizona had burned by mid-May.
While wildfires often occur throughout the year, more tend to start in April and May, concomitant with the historical occurrence of rising temperatures and windy and dry weather. The fire season in the Southwest usually peaks in June and July before the onset of the monsoon.Notes:
The fires discussed here have been reported by federal, state, or tribal agencies during 2013. The figures include information both for current fires and for fires that have been suppressed. The top figure shows a table of year-to-date fire information for Arizona and New Mexico. Prescribed burns are not included in these numbers. The bottom two figures indicate the approximate locations of past and present “large” wildland fires in Arizona and in New Mexico. A “large” fire is defined as a blaze covering 100 acres or more in timber or 300 acres or more in grass or brush. The name of each current fire is provided next to the symbol.
Southwest Climate Outlook Staff
- Michael Crimmins, UA Extension Specialist
- Stephanie Doster, Institute of the Environment Editor
- Gregg Garfin, Founding Editor, Institute of the Environment
- Zack Guido, Managing Editor, CLIMAS Associate Staff Scientist
- Nancy J. Selover, Arizona State Climatologist
- Jessica Dollin, CLIMAS Publications Assistant
- Dave Dubois, New Mexico State Climatologist
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
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