Saturday, June 23, 2012

Western Fires

Smoke from the Dump Fire in Utah county is less obvious in today's MODIS image.  Compare the one below in which smoke is barely evident to the one from the previous post.  Squint and you might be able to make out the fire scar just west of the northern part of Utah Lake (click to enlarge).

A heroic effort by firefighters kept the fire out of residential areas yesterday.  They must have thrown everything at it but the kitchen sink.  It may also be fortunate that there are no heavy fuels in the lower elevations near the homes and that the fire was moving downhill.

Conditions at the Eagle Mountain are fairly similar to yesterday, but perhaps a touch drier.  It is currently 95ºF with a dewpoint of 9ºF, for a relative humidity of a remarkably low 4%.  Winds are currently southwesterly at 21 miles per hour gusting to 29.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the winds have slowed the "counterattack" on the fire and have extended the evacuation order for about 600 homes.

Meanwhile, serious fires are raging elsewhere in the west.  The Weber Fire near Mancos, CO has forced evacuations and has generated a plume that is readily apparent in today's MODIS imagery.

And, while the High Park fire continues to burn west of Fort Collins (now up to a size of almost 70,000 acres), an additional fire broke out in that area today and burned at least 10 homes near Estes Park.  The plume from this fire is also readily apparent in MODIS imagery.

Remarkably, it is still only June.  What will happen when lightning activity increases over the southwest?  It could be a very long summer.  

1 comment:

  1. Jim I saw a 3% RH at sld airport. I have never seen on that low.