Rainfall in western states slows wildfire season in many areas

Rainfall last 2 weeks washington oregon
Rainfall last 2 weeks, Washington and Oregon

Rainfall over the last two weeks has slowed or in some cases, ended the wildfire season in some areas.

On October 19 we ran the numbers for the accumulated precipitation for the last 14 days in the western states. These maps show amounts that exceeded 0.05 inches at some of the Interagency Remote Automatic Weather Stations (RAWS).

Washington, Oregon, and northern California have received a good soaking and I would imagine that local fire officials may be declaring an end to the fire season. Of course this is not unusual for these areas this time of the year, and some locations had already seen their season end. But what IS unusual, is the high amount of moisture that occurred in just two weeks.

You can click on the images to see larger versions.

Rainfall last 2 weeks, northern California
Rainfall last 2 weeks, northern California
Rainfall last 2 weeks central California
Rainfall last 2 weeks, central California

Continue to see maps for the other western states.
Continue reading “Rainfall in western states slows wildfire season in many areas”

Wildfire burns approximately 30 homes in Timberon, New Mexico

About 67 structures have burned, including about 30 homes and numerous vehicles.

Above: The yellow dots represent heat detected by a satellite over the Timberon Fire at 2:10 a.m. MDT July 14, 2016. Click to enlarge.

A wildfire has burned through a portion of the town of Timberon in south-central New Mexico destroying approximately 30 homes 22 air miles southeast of Alamogordo. The fire started July 13 and burned 290 acres before firefighters completed a fireline around the perimeter. 

One engine from the Timberon Volunteer Fire Department burned after a mechanical failure. An update provided Friday by incident management team said approximately 30 vehicles were destroyed or damaged, including 14 recreational vehicles.

The Type 4 incident management team headed by Caleb Finch transitioned to the Type 3 Pecos team led by Tom Barta Friday morning. 

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Allen.

Small fire camp burned over in New Mexico

Burned fire campThree firefighters rode horses into a wilderness area in the Gila National Forest to assess the Turkey Fire in early June. As they were setting up fire camp the least experienced of the three began to construct a fire line around the location, but the Incident Commander, who spent 17 years on a local hotshot crew, told him not to bother, explaining that nearby meadows would keep the fire from spreading toward their camp. After dropping off their equipment, they left to develop a plan to protect a cabin.

Upon returning they discovered that the fire had burned through the site, destroying all of their supplies and equipment.

You can read the entire report at the Lessons Learned website, which is the source of these photos.

Burned fire camp

Dog Head Fire continues to spread to the east near Chilili, New Mexico

(UPDATE at 1:47 p.m. MDT June 19, 2016)

Tanker 160 drops on Dog Head Fire
Air tanker 160, an RJ85, drops on the Dog Head Fire in New Mexico. Undated InciWeb photo.

The Dog Head fire, 3 miles north of Tajique, New Mexico, continued to spread to the east over the last two days, adding approximately 1,500 acres, to bring the size up to 17,617 acres. The fire is working its way through fingers of timber on ridges that are separated by grassy areas in the flatter ground in between the ridges.

Weather forecast Dog Head Fire
Weather forecast for the Dog Head Fire area. NWS. Click to enlarge.

Higher humidity moderated fire behavior on Saturday but the forecast for Sunday includes 13 percent RH, temperature about 90 degrees, and wind out of the southeast at 9 mph. Weather forecasters expect 14 mph southwest winds on Monday with slightly higher humidity.

Map Dog Head Fire
Map of the Dog Head Fire at 4 a.m. MDT June 19, 2016 (the red line). The white line is from 3:30 a.m. MDT June 17, 2016. Click to enlarge.


(UPDATE at 8:35 p.m. MDT June 17, 2016)

The Dog Head Fire 17 miles southeast of Albuquerque was less active on Friday than on previous days. This was due in part to lighter winds and the fact that in some areas on the east side the fire has spread beyond the timber into much lighter fuels where it can be attacked more successfully by firefighters and aircraft.

A satellite overflight at 1:30 p.m. on Friday detected very few heat sources. But stronger winds in the late afternoon may have changed that situation.


(UPDATED at 6:42 a.m. MDT June 17, 2016)

Map Dog Head fire
Map of the perimeter of the Dog Head fire at 3:30 a.m. MDT June 17, 2016.

The incident management team reports that 24 single residences and 21 other minor structures have been destroyed in the Dog Head Fire near Chilili, New Mexico.

On Thursday the fire continued to push towards the east and northeast toward Chilili Land Grant. Approximately 16,000 acres have burned, according to the IMT.

Hot, dry and unstable weather is in the forecast from Friday into the weekend.

Continue reading “Dog Head Fire continues to spread to the east near Chilili, New Mexico”

Satellite photo shows three large columns of smoke in Arizona & New Mexico

Above: map showing three large columns of smoke in Arizona and New Mexico, at 5:15 p.m. MDT, June 15, 2016.

The satellite photo above shows three large columns of smoke in Arizona and New Mexico. We have tentatively identified them, but this is not yet confirmed, as the North Fire (25 miles southwest of Magdalena, NM), the Dog Head Fire (about 25 miles southeast of Albuquerque, NM), and the Cedar Creek Fire, a new fire 12 to 16 miles southwest of Show Low, Arizona.

The North Fire is a limited suppression fire, while the other two are being fully suppressed.

The Cedar Creek Fire started around noon on Wednesday and by 3 p.m. had burned about 1,000 acres. Strong winds were pushing it toward Show Low. Fire officials have identified a trigger point. If the fire reaches the B65 Road they will order evacuations of Show Low and Forestdale.

Earlier today we posted information about six fires in these two states, including the North and Dog Head fires.

Strong winds were predicted for parts of Arizona and New Mexico today, along with a Red Flag Warning for the area southeast of Albuquerque, NM.

wind forecast arizona
The wind gust forecast for 3 p.m. MDT June 16, 2016.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Tom.

Wildfire activity in Arizona and New Mexico

Above: Dog Fire, June 14, 2016. Photo by Incident Management Team.

Cool, wet weather has slowed wildfire activity in Northern California, Washington, and Oregon. The 2,396-acre Pony fire on the Klamath National Forest, about 15 miles southwest of Happy Camp, received rain on Tuesday.

It is a different story in Arizona and New Mexico where more than half a dozen fires have burned significant acreage. All of them are limited suppression fires except for the Dog Head Fire that started Tuesday morning.

Jack Fire

This limited suppression fire has burned 36,408 acres in central Arizona 24 miles southeast of Sedona. This is an increase of about 11,000 acres over the last three days. There is a red flag warning in effect from 11 a.m. Wednesday morning to 7 p.m. in th evening due to strong winds and low relative humidity for the area. Higher temperatures and low relative humidity are expected over the next couple days.

Dog Head Fire

Rich Nieto’s Type 2 Incident Management Team will assume command of this 682-acre fire Wednesday evening. It started at 11 a.m. on Tuesday and as of Wednesday morning voluntary evacuations are occurring for Monzano Morning, Aceves Road, and La Parra Road.

Today they expect temperatures in the 80s and low 90s, southwest wind of 10 to 25 with gust to 35, and relative humidity around 10 percent.

It is about 25 miles southeast of Albuquerque, New Mexico on the Cibola National Forest and National Grassland. This is the only one of these six fires that is not a limited suppression fire.

McKenna Fire

This limited suppression fire northwest of Silver City, New Mexico has burned 10,210 acres since it was reported on May 6.

North Fire

This limited suppression fire has burned about 22,000 acres 25 miles southwest of Magdalena, New Mexico since it was reported on May 21.

North Fire
North Fire. Undated photo by Ken Watkins.

Spur and Turkey Fires

The Gila National Forest in southwest New Mexico is releasing very little information about these two limited suppression fires that at last report had each burned between 2,000 and 3,000 acres.