After a Challenging 2006 Fire Season, the US & Canada
Brace for the 2007 Season
Link to MODIS Active Fire Mapping Program

MODIS Active Fire Mapping Program—Current fire map of the US, as compiled by the USDA Forest Service (USFS) Remote Sensing Applications Center in cooperation with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the University of Maryland, the National Interagency Fire Center, and the USFS Missoula Fire Sciences Lab. This map is updated every Friday.

Fire M3 Hot Spot Map for Canada
Canadian Wildland Fire Information System—This map is updated daily from May through September using satellite data from the US National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the European Space Agency.
Download 2006 CIFFC Fire Season Report Download 2006 CIFFC Report
View the 2006 BLM Fire Season Report View 2006 BLM Report
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The 2006 fire season started in the U.S. on January 1st with grass and brush fires fanned by winds in Texas and Oklahoma. By March, 18 states had reported large fires, and Florida in particular had a very tough spring.

Before the month of June was over, significant large fires occurred in Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada and Utah, and two modular airborne firefighting systems (MAFFS; military cargo aircraft temporarily converted to airtankers) were brought in to assist.

But July saw the escalation of wildfires throughout the west in the US and Canada. A major wildfire of 22 separate large fires in Montana burned through 450,000 acres, and the fire activity in British Columbia was so severe that the Canadian government requested assistance from the U.S. government. A US incident-management team and five crews were sent to British Columbia for several weeks.

The Klamath Falls area of the US Pacific Northwest endured sustained, repeated periods of lightning strikes, and the MAFFS aircraft were deployed to the area from July 21st through September 13th. And a stubborn wildfire in Washington's North Cascades National Park in August led the US National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) to import 92 firefighters Australia and New Zealand, and 100 more from Canada to fight fires.

Before all was said and done, the CIFFC reported a total of 9,713 wildland fires in Canada that consumed 2,079,554 hectares. In the US, the Department of the Interior (DOI) reported a total of 94,000 wildfires, which burned a record 9.6 million acres, more than 2,100 structures and caused tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes. Tragically, 22 firefighters and firefighting pilots also lost their lives.

The El Niño Effect, 2006-2007
A weak to moderate El Niño event developed in mid-2006, which may explain the severity of the 2006 fire season. During the winter and early spring, El Niño typically brings drier weather to the Ohio River valley and warm
temperatures to the northern tier of the U.S. But with the end of this particular El Niño event in February 2007, the forecast for this year's fire season has shifted primarily to the east.

A fast-moving brush fire scorched more than 2,000 acres of parched hillside, forcing the evacuation of more than 500 homes in the Anaheim Hills area of Southern California in March, 2007. The fire, stoked by hot dry winds and fueled by chaparral, spread south and west quickly through rugged terrain dotted with multi-million dollar homes on top of ridges.

This is because the drought conditions across the Great Lakes area and the Southeast and Southwest of the US are expected to persist, raising the fire risk potential in these areas. Also, the low snowpack levels over much of the eastern portion of North America will most likely result in an early start to the fire season. This has already occurred in SW California, which experienced a severe wildfire in early March. Because of the rugged terrain and proximity to populated areas, many helicopters and other aircraft were put to use in suppressing the fire.

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