Red flags, prescribed fires, and cannon fire

Red flag warnings 4-6-2012
Red flag warnings April 6, 2012

The map for April 6 shows Red Flag Warnings covering large areas of the United States. And again, the map shows the warnings-constrained-by-state-boundaries-syndrome. This makes a person wonder if the forecasters on one side of the state boundary were too aggressive with their warning, or if the folks across the border were too timid, or it simply didn’t occur to them to post a warning. Or none of the above.

Check out the map below showing the locations of spot weather forecasts.If you go to the National Weather Service web site and click on one of the large flame icons, you’ll see that most of them are for prescribed fires —  few are for wildfires. And almost all of the prescribed fires are less than 100 acres.

Spot weather forecasts 4-6-2012
Spot weather forecasts April 6, 2012

Two spot weather forecasts are for locations in the Pacific Ocean. One was for a prescribed fire near Coburn, North Dakota, and the other one, in the Gulf of Alaska, was requested by the Coast Guard. I’m thinking that the latter is for the incident involving the derelict ghost ship Ryou-Un that was set adrift during last year’s tsunami in Japan. The Coast Guard decided to use a cannon on one of their cutters to blast holes in the ship and sink it rather than risk the chance of it running aground or endangering other vessels in the busy shipping lanes between North America and Asia.

Spot weather forecasts, Pacific Ocean 4-6-2012

From the photo below, it appears that the ship took quite a few cannon rounds from the Coast Guard cutter.

Coast Guard sinks ship
The Ryou-Un is set afire after being hit by the cannon from a Coast Guard cutter. Photo by U.S. Coast Guard
Coast Guard sinks ship
Photo by Petty Officer 2Nd Class Charly Hengen, U.S. Coast Guard