We know that fire seasons throughout the Western US have become longer and more severe over the past several decades due to rising overall temperatures from the increasing concentrations of anthropogenic greenhouse gases. These produce longer late spring, summer and early fall heat waves and drought periods. In this presentation, we will describe the climate mechanisms that are producing these effects here (in the GYE/Northern Rockies) and in other wildfire-prone areas. We will pay special attention to Australia, the most fire-prone region on the globe. As during their catastrophic 2019-20 fire season, many records were broken, which serve as a warning to the rest of the World. We will also briefly examine what led to the surprisingly early and intense fire behavior seen on the Robertson Draw incident locally here last June, south of Red Lodge and will conclude with a brief fire potential outlook for this season in our and surrounding areas.
Michael Richmond has 33 years of operational weather forecasting experience with the National Weather Service, and the US Forest Service. In a variety of duty stations starting with Pendleton and Portland, OR. Followed by Missoula, MT, and then in Alaska, 1998-2014 (Juneau, Fairbanks, Anchorage). Ending in Missoula, where he was a Predictive Services meteorologist, providing weather support to the USFS Northern Rockies Coordination Center in support of their wildfire suppression and resource allocation operations, as well as conducting research and providing air quality forecasts in support of prescribed burning. For over 20 years he was a specially-trained NWS Incident Meteorologist, providing on-site forecasting services on larger wildfire incidents, and other emergency response operations. In addition to his meteorological studies, he has had graduate work in forestry from the Universities of Montana and Alaska.