Smoke from fire in Washington creating concern in Montana

smoke Wolverine Fire Montana

Smoke from the Wolverine Fire in north-central Washington travels into Idaho and northern Montana Sunday afternoon. (click to enlarge)

Smoke from the Wolverine Fire in north-central Washington is creating some concern in northern Montana. Some residents smelling the smoke that is blowing into Idaho and Montana are assuming the fire is nearby, but it is actually 300 to 600 miles away, depending on where you are in Montana. Some people in the state are searching for phrases on the internet such as “current Montana wildfire”.

At this time, there are no large, active fires in Montana, except for the Reynolds Fire in Glacier National Park which occasionally sends up a burst of smoke when a patch of vegetation burns out. Some residents in the state could be smelling that as well, since it was putting up some smoke on Sunday and merging with the Wolverine Fire smoke.

More information about the Wolverine Fire on Wildfire Today.

Below are two smoke maps. The first documents the distribution of wildfire smoke as of 4 p.m. MT, August 2. The next is a forecast for smoke at 8 p.m. MT, August 2.

wildfire smoke

Map of wildfire smoke at 4 p.m. MT, August 2, 2015.

smoke forecast

Smoke forecast for 8 p.m. MT, August 8, 2015.

 

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Wolverine Fire in Washington quadruples in size in 24 hours

Wolverine Fire

Fire activity on the Wolverine Fire, July 3, 2014. InciWeb photo.

The Wolverine Fire near the north end of Lake Chelan in north-central Washington slowly grew since it started on June 29 to 3,714 acres on July 31. That changed the next day when it more than quadrupled to 15,760 acres. (See the maps below.) After burning for more than a month, suddenly Level 3 evacuations were ordered for Holden Village and Holden Mine Remediation, which meant there was no time to grab anything — leave immediately. The evacuation was accomplished through a combined effort of Holden Village, Rio Tinto, Lake Chelan Boat Company, Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, and the US Forest Service. The incident management team provided more information:

Holden Village is not threatened but a Level 3 evacuation was necessary as Lucerne Landing was in danger which is the evacuation route for the Village.

A Level 3 evacuation has also been ordered for Lucerne, Riddle and Lightning Creek.

Sunday morning a Type 2 incident management team assumed command of the Wolverine Fire. They will be relieved Tuesday by a Type 1 team.

The Wolverine Fire has spread throughout the Burn Creek, South Lake Creek, and Forks Creek drainages and is well established in the Emerald Park Creek drainage.

It is on the 45-mile-long Lake Chelan, 23 air miles southwest of Twisp and 30 miles northwest of the city of Chelan.

Click on the maps below to see larger versions.

Wolverine Fire

Map of the Wolverine Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 8 p.m. PT August 1, 2015. The white line is from 24 hours before.

Wolverine Fire

3-D map of the Wolverine Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 8 p.m. PT August 1, 2015. The white line is from 24 hours before.

map of smoke Wolverine Fire

Smoke created by the Wolverine Fire, August 2, 2015.

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Rocky Fire, east of Clearlake, California

(Our previous article about the Rocky Fire near Clearlake, California had been updated many times and was becoming large, so we are starting fresh with this article beginning August 2. It will continue to be updated.)

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(UPDATED at 6 a.m. PT, August 3, 2015)

map of Rocky Fire 630 pm PT August 2, 2015

Map showing in red the perimeter of the Rocky Fire at 6:30 p.m. PT, August 2, 2015. The perimeter from 16 hours before is shown in yellow. (Click to enlarge)

Firefighters continue to battle the Rocky Fire east of Clearlake and Lower Lake, California, which has grown to 60,000 acres. They are having some success on the north and east sides where the spread of the fire has been stopped in some places, for now, along Highways 20 and 16. But there is still a great deal of uncontrolled fire edge that must be dealt with.

The two highways, 20 and 16, are closed. CAL FIRE reports that evacuations are impacting over 12,000 residents, but that number has not been updated in a while. The number of residences destroyed, according to their information, remains at 24.

There was good relative humidity recovery overnight when it increased to 84 percent by 5 a.m. The RH will slowly decrease on Monday to a low of  24 percent by 3 p.m. The maximum temperature will be 85 and in the afternoon the 2 mph southeast wind will increase to 10 mph out of the southwest around 5 p.m. These conditions on Monday morning will give firefighters a chance to make some headway on containing the fire, at least until mid-afternoon

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(UPDATED at 8:39 p.m. PT, August 2, 2015)

CAL FIRE is calling the Rocky Fire east of Clearlake, California 54,000 acres and 5 percent contained as of Sunday evening.

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(Originally published at 9:35 a.m. PT, August 2, 2015)

The Rocky Fire east of Clearlake, California more than doubled in size on Saturday. CAL FIRE reported that it had burned 22,500 acres on Saturday morning, and a mapping flight at 2 a.m. Sunday determined that it had exploded, again, and has now blackened 47,000 acres. Two highways in the area are closed, Highways 20 and 16. (See the map below.)

The weather conditions on Saturday were fairly conducive to significant fire spread — 95 degrees, 21 percent relative humidity, and southwest winds at 8 mph gusting up to 17. The forecast for Sunday is somewhat more moderate — 90 degrees, 32 percent RH, and winds switching from the west to south at 2 mph increasing to 9 mph in the afternoon.

Combined with low vegetation (fuel) moisture, another 25,000 acres went up in smoke Saturday as the fire spread to the north and east coming close to, and in some areas reaching, Highway 20 on the north and 16 on the east. CAL FIRE reported at 7:45 Sunday morning that the fire had not crossed the roads. Firefighters were burning out or backfiring ahead of the fire in some places along the highways.

Map Rocky Fire

Map of the Rocky Fire at 2 a.m. PT August 2, 2015 (the red line). The white line was the perimeter about 24 hours before. (click to enlarge)

The Rocky Fire has destroyed 24 residences and 26 outbuildings, according to CAL FIRE.

Evacuations have impacted over 12,190 citizens living in 5,201 residences. CAL FIRE at 7:45 Sunday morning reported the following evacuations:

Mandatory: Jerusalem Valley area east of Soda Creek, Bonham Road, Quarter Horse Lane, Mustang Court, Bronco Court, Sunset Court, Morgan Valley east of Bonham Road, Canyon Road, June Bug Road, Cambell Ranch Road, Sloan Ranch Road, Sky High Ranch Road, Rocky Creek Road, Dam Road from the gate to the dam, Grizzly Canyon, Long Branch Drive, Lance Road, Cougar Road, Red Rocks, Meridian Road, Antelope Road, Mule Skinner Road, Flint Look Place, Moccasin Road, Roundball Road, Watertrough Road, Grigsby Canyon, Lucky Canyon, Remington Canyon, Walker Ridge, Walker Ridge Road, No Guns Road, Meriann Drive, Bear Valley Road from Highway 20 to Wilbur Springs Road, Wilbur Springs Road and Morgan Valley Road X Butte Creek Road.

Advisory: All areas including east of Hwy 29 @ Raita Road east of Hwy 53 north to Hwy 20 including Ogulin Canyon Road, City of Clear Lake, Spruce Grove Road, Noble Ranch Road, Black Bass Pass, Jerusalem Valley area west of Soda Creek, Double Eagle Ranch, Homes along Hwy 20 corridor between New Long Valley Road and east of the county line, Spruce Grove Road to intersection of Jerusalem Grade, Lake Ridge

Evacuation Centers: Middletown High School, Kelseyville High School

Rocky Fire August 1, 2015

Rocky Fire, August 1, 2015. CAL FIRE photo.

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Outlook for wildfire potential, August through November, 2015

The Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center has issued their Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for August through November, 2015. The data represents the cumulative forecasts of the ten Geographic Area Predictive Services Units and the National Predictive Services Unit.

If their forecasts are accurate, portions of Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, and Montana will have above normal wildfire activity through September.

It is interesting that northern California, where many fires are growing at very, very rapid rates, has “normal” wildfire potential according to the analysis for August, perhaps because of this statement in the document about northern California:

The strengthening El Niño pattern will cause occasional monsoon surges, mainly in August.

Here are the highlights from their outlook.

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August

wildfire potential August

  • Drier than normal fuels and little forecasted relief have led to above normal significant fire potential for most of the Northwest and western
    portions of the Northern Rockies.
  • Long term drought will keep significant fire potential above normal in Southern California.
  • Alaska will see continued periodic acreage growth from established fires which will lead to overall above normal significant fire potential.
  • Elsewhere mostly normal activity should be expected; which includes frequent significantfires and plentiful initial attack for August.

September

wildfire potential September

  • Central California and Alaska will see significant fire potential return to normal; however dry conditions are expected to persist in the Northwest, western Northern Rockies and far Southern California. 
  • Elsewhere primarily normal activity should be prevalent. For September, this means a rapid decline in both numbers of fires and acres burned for most Areas.

October-November

wildfire potential October November

  • Far Southern California will remain above normal for October and November; while most of the rest of the U.S. will be normal in many areas indicating little or no fire activity.
  • Below normal significant fire potential across most of the eastern U.S. for this period thanks to frequent moisture inputs represents a reduced fall and winter fire season for U.S. overall.

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As a bonus, here is the Drought Monitor from July 28, 2015:

Drought Monitor July 28, 2015And, the U.S. Drought Outlook for August:

US Drought Outlook, August, 2015

 

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New lightning fires in Shasta-Trinity NF burn 19,000 acres

(UPDATE at 9 a.m. PT, July 2, 2015)

Map showing heat detected by a satellite on fires west of Redding, CA, at 2:44 a.m. August 2, 2015.

Map showing heat detected by a satellite on fires west of Redding, CA, at 2:44 a.m. August 2, 2015.

The management of the new lightning-caused wildfires detected in the last 48 hours between Redding and Eureka, California has been organized into at least three “complexes” of fires. Above is a recent map showing heat detected in the area by a satellite at 2:44 a.m., August 2, 2015.

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(Originally published at 9:31 am PT, August 1, 2015)

Map of Shasta-T lightning fires

Map of Shasta-Trinity NF lightning fires at 8 p.m. PT July 31, 2015. (click to enlarge)

An infrared mapping flight over the Shasta-Trinity National Forest Friday night west of Redding, California detected numerous fires that together have burned 19,000 acres over the last 48 hours. The Shasta-Trinity clearly has a massive wildfire situation on their hands. These lightning-caused fires have grown significantly in the last 36 hours.

The area is under a Red Flag Warning for “abundant lighting” Saturday afternoon. Wetting rain is not expected to accompany the lighting.

More information about these fires is HERE.

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