About Bill Gabbert

Wildland fire has been a major part of Bill Gabbert’s life for several decades. After growing up in the south, he migrated to southern California where he lived for 20 years, working as a wildland firefighter. Later he took his affinity for firefighting to Indiana and eventually the Black Hills of South Dakota where he was the Fire Management Officer for a group of seven national parks. Today he is the creator and owner of WildfireToday.com and Sagacity Wildfire Services and serves as an expert witness in wildland fire. If you are interested in wildland fire, welcome… grab a cup of coffee and put your feet up. Google+

Canadian smoke continues to plague areas in the U.S.

Smoke map

Distribution of wildfire smoke in the United States and Canada, July 3, 2015. NOAA. The red dots represent the location of wildfires.

Smoke from wildfires in Canada has been migrating into large sections of the United States for several days, and that trend continues today. Even in, for example, southwest South Dakota my view of the Seven Sisters is degraded by particulates from those fires. A couple of days ago quite a number of people searching on the Internet for “fire Rapid City” or “fire Black Hills”, ended up on Wildfire Today, thinking there was a wildfire nearby.

To be fair to Canada, some of the smoke in the U.S., but a comparatively small amount, is coming from fires in Washington and Oregon.

wildfireSmoke Forecast

Wildfire Smoke Forecast for 5 p.m. MT, July 3, 2015. NOAA.


Red Flag Warnings, July 3, 2015

Red Flag Warnings July 3, 3015

Red Flag Warnings and Fire Weather Watches are in the forecasts for some areas in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho on Friday and Saturday for gusty winds and low relative humidities.

Washington: Red Flag Warning from 3 p.m. Friday until 8 p.m. Saturday.
Oregon: Red Flag Warning from noon Saturday until 8 p.m. Saturday.
Idaho: Fire Weather Watch from Saturday morning through Saturday evening.

The map was current as of 8:30 a.m. MDT on Friday. Red Flag Warnings can change throughout the day as the National Weather Service offices around the country update and revise their forecasts and maps. For the most current data visit this NWS site or this NWS site.


Wildfire smoke maps, July 2, 2015

Wildfire smoke forecast 4 pm MT July 2, 2015

Wildfire smoke forecast for 4 p.m. MT July 2, 2015.

These two images show the distribution of smoke from wildfires. Most of what residents in the United States will see and smell today is coming from fires in Canada, but wildfires in Washington and Oregon are also contributing to the haze, but in comparatively small amounts.

The image above is a forecast for smoke at 4 p.m. MT, July 2, 2015. Below is a “smoke analysis” for July 2, 2015, produced by NOAA. The red dots represent the location of wildfires.

Wildfire smoke analysis July 2, 2015

Wildfire smoke analysis July 2, 2015. The red dots represent the location of wildfires. NOAA. (click to enlarge)


Spot fire from Sleepy Hollow Fire burned commercial structures 1.2 miles from main fire

Sleepy Hollow Fire map

3-D map of the Sleepy Hollow Fire in Wenatchee, Washington, looking west, 1 a.m. PT, June 30, 2015. Note the spot fire near the river that is 1.2 miles east of the main fire. (click to enlarge)

The map above is a 3-D rendering of the perimeter of the Sleepy Hollow Fire that burned into Wenatchee in central Washington Sunday, June 28. The map is looking west, and was produced after a mapping flight at 1 a.m. PT, July 1. The fire burned 24 residences and several commercial structures.

One interesting thing is the spot fire that caused several businesses to burn near the river 1.2 miles away from the main fire. It is believed that a burning ember landed in some bales of cardboard that were to be recycled. While firefighters were engaged miles away trying to save homes, the fire spread from the cardboard to several nearby commercial structures, some of which were warehouses and fruit packing plants. Monday morning, June 29, smoke was still coming from the facilities of Michelsen Packaging Company, Northwest Wholesale, and Blue Bird Inc.

This is not unheard of, for a burning ember to travel that far and ignite a new fire, and has happened over greater distances. A recent example was on the King Fire in northern California in 2014, where a spot fire occurred 2 miles in front of the main fire.

More information about the Sleepy Hollow Fire on Wildfire Today.