Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A Bad Independence Day to Play with Fire

I'm not fan of the tomfoolery that occurs on and around the Independence Day holiday.  Most years, the potential for human-sparked wildfire is high enough, but this year, things are especially bad.

The latest forecast from the USFS shows extreme fire danger across most of Utah, with only the strip along the Idaho border in the low category. 
Source: USFS
Basically, most of Utah is a tinderbox.  Meanwhile the National Weather Service has nearly the entire state in the pink, indicating a red-flag warning that for most of the state currently extends through midnight tonight and reflects a combination of heat, low humidity, and strong winds that may be persistent or gusty. 

Source: NWS
Even if we are not under red-flag conditions tomorrow, the state is still a tinderbox.

The potential for disaster is well illustrated by the Dollar Ridge Fire southeast of Strawberry Reservoir, which produced smoke that was clearly evident in yesterday's MODIS imagery. 

Source: NASA, USFS Geospatial Technology and Applications Center
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, the Dollar Ridge Fire began on private property and is believed to be human caused.  It was first reported at 1 PM on July 1st.  My son and I actually saw the initial plume while on East Castle around that time.  It quickly burned nearly 7,000 acres by that evening.  The latest news reports suggest that it has now burned 30,000 acres.  I've yet to confirm that at the National Interagency Fire Center web site, but it could be it just hasn't updated yet.

The bottom line is that we have met the enemy and it is us.  Let's hope we don't have a strong nominee (or nominees) for a Darwin Award when the holiday week comes to an end.

1 comment:

  1. This is the website I use to check fire size and containment along with a few other details that are included in the report. https://www.nifc.gov/nicc/sitreprt.pdf