Forecasting & Forecast Zones

From March to October, the fire weather meteorologists produce forecasts twice daily. The forecasts are issued in the morning (10:15 MDT) and the afternoon (15:15 MDT). They are used for planning and supporting fire suppression and pre-suppression activities.

Note that some fire weather information will not be available after the fire season, between October 31 and February 28.

The AM forecast

The AM forecast is an assessment of the current burning period and is sometimes considered an update to the previous afternoon forecast.

The anomaly data is appended to the AM forecast, and includes:

  • The previous day's maximum temperature
  • 24-hour precipitation
  • The current and forecast 500 mb heights
  • Deviation in those heights from normal

It provides a convenient provincial summary and is used to anticipate burning conditions.

The Forecast Map is updated daily at 10:30 MDT. It is an amalgamation of surface and upper air features along with the AM forecast data for each region. This provides a convenient visual summation of the forecast for that day's burning period.

The PM forecast

The PM forecast is issued for the next day's burning conditions, and is used as a pre-suppression forecast.

Red Flag Warning or Watch

The Red Flag Watch is intended to provide situational awareness messaging for wildfire personnel and the public that a hazardous fire environment is developing and reinforce the need for heightened vigilance.

Forecast resources

For questions about forecasting and forecast zones, contact the Weather Section at:

Updated: Nov 28, 2022