Experimental forecasts for the 2003 fire season indicate low area burned in most western deserts and basins, high area burned in the southern Rocky Mountains and at higher elevations in Arizona and New Mexico, and mid to high area burned in the Sierra Nevada. This pattern - largely a continuation of that seen in 2002 - is the result of persistent drought. If parts of the western U.S. experience significant additional precipitation before the start of the western fire season, high forecasts for mountain provinces could change, but low forecasts for basins and deserts are unlikely to be affected.
Westerling, Anthony L.; Gershunov, Alexander; Cayan, Daniel R. 2003. Statistical forecasts of the 2003 western wildfire season using canonical correlation analysis. Experimental Long-Lead Forecast Bulletin. 12(1): 49-53.