Precipitation slows wildfires in western US

Fires western US
Heat detected by a satellite during the 24 hours ending at 1:13 a.m. PT, September 16, 2015. The red icons are the most recent, with the brown icons being detected 12 to 24 hours previously. Most of the icons represent wildfires, however the ones in North Dakota are from the flaring of gas at drilling operations. (click to enlarge)

Rain, and in some cases snow, has slowed many of the large fires that have been burning in the western United States. Compare the heat detected by a satellite in the map above (current) with the map below from August 24.

satellite fires heat
Heat detected by a satellite in the 24 hours preceding 7:45 p.m. Pt, August 24, 2015. (click to enlarge)

As you can see below, some areas in California, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming received over a quarter of an inch in the last week, with a few locations getting more than half an inch. And in Orange County near Los Angeles that got almost two inches of rain on Tuesday, officials were dealing with flooding in Newport Beach and telling residents where they could obtain sandbags.

Precipitation 7 days ending September 15
Precipitation for the seven day period that ended September 15, 2015. NOAA.

Of course precipitation is expected during this time of the year in the West except in southern California, and is the reason that fire seasons usually start to wind down in the northwest one-quarter of the US in September.

The image below shows the normal precipitation for the seven day period ending September 15, 2015.

Normal precipitation
Normal precipitation for the seven day period ending September 15. NOAA.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+