Google Earth, the software that has aerial imagery from all over the world, now has satellite photos of the Thomas Fire. The photo above is from December 13, 2017. To see the fire images you will need to zoom in fairly close and select imagery from December, 2017 (View/Historical Imagery). The photos are from December 4 through 18, 2017.
The Roosevelt and Marten Creek Fires are 30 and 50 miles south of Jackson
Above: The Martin Fire, September 16, 2018. InciWeb.
(UPDATED at 7:02 a.m. MDT September 19, 2018)
The Roosevelt Fire 30 air miles south of Jackson, Wyoming was very active Tuesday growing to within 3 miles of Highway 191. Since it started September 15 it has spread 16 miles to the east. When it was mapped at 10:45 p.m. Tuesday the fire was 6 miles south of Bondurant. Most of the blaze at that time was within the Bridger-Teton National Forest but began to move onto private land on the east side near Muddy Creek Road late in the day.
To see the all of the articles about the Roosevelt Fire on Wildfire Today, including the most recent, click HERE.
The mapping flight Tuesday night determined the fire had burned approximately 25,168 acres, which was almost three times the size we estimated it had burned at 2:59 p.m. Tuesday.
The Marten Creek Fire 50 miles south of Jackson was much less active Tuesday afternoon and evening.
(Originally published at 9:38 p.m. MDT September 18, 2018)
It is not every year that in mid-September we see wildfires south of Jackson, Wyoming spreading rapidly at 7,000 to 10,000 feet above sea level.
The Roosevelt Fire started September 15 about 30 air miles south of Jackson and spread to the east over a 10,000-foot ridge. At about 3 p.m. Tuesday it had spread along the east slope back down to 7,000 feet, 7 miles south of Bondurant.
The Great Basin Incident Management Team 6 led by Incident Commander Jeff Knudson will assume command of the fire Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.
Fire officials said it is a full suppression fire “utilizing natural barriers. These barriers will aid in slowing the fire growth. In other areas that are safe to have firefighters working direct, we will be using that tactic.”
The Sublette County Sheriff’s Office has issued Evacuation Orders for several areas. Their Facebook page has the latest official information.
Our very UNOFFICIAL estimate of the size of the Roosevelt Fire, based on heat detected by a satellite flying 200 miles overhead at 2:59 p.m. MDT September 18 puts it about 9,000 acres.
The Marten Creek Fire started near Gray River Road September 16, about 50 miles south of Jackson and has also worked its way up to a 10,000-foot ridge. It is 12 miles east of Afton, Wyoming. Strong winds aligned with the topography significantly increased the fire behavior Monday and Tuesday.
Tuesday evening a Type 2 Incident Management Team will begin transitioning with the local Type 3 team, in association with the U.S. Forest Service. The fire was human caused and is currently under investigation. Fire officials said Tuesday night the fire has burned about 5,700 acres.
The area will be under a Red Flag Warning Wednesday. The forecast for the fire area calls for a high of 70 degrees at 7,800 feet, winds out of the southwest at 15 mph gusting to 23, and relative humidity in the low teens.
A Lessons Learned Review has been released for an engine that rolled over while working on the Fawn Fire near Meeker, Colorado July 8 ,2018.
The entire document is HERE. Below is the Executive Summary:
On July 8th at approximately 2325, on the Fawn Fire near Meeker Colorado, a cooperating fire department engine (Engine 1) rolled off the roadway as they were travelling from the fire back to Incident Command Post (ICP). Due to a high volume of fire traffic and very dry conditions, the road surface was extremely dusty and visibility was often severely reduced.
As Engine 1 was departing the fire area, they were the second to last vehicle in a convoy of 5 vehicles. Approximately a half mile after leaving the fire and headed back down County Road 29, Engine 1 encountered near zero-visibility due to dust and started to slow down. This reduction in visibility occurred in a short section of the road where the road bed narrowed due to erosional sloughing. Unable to see the upcoming road bed hazard, the engine operator continued driving straight as he was slowing the engine down. The front passenger [-side] tire travelled off the roadway, and the engine rolled off the embankment and down about 75 feet before coming to rest in the creek bottom back on its tires.
Although there was substantial damage to the cab of the engine, all the vehicle occupants were wearing their seat belts and only sustained minor injuries (bruising, chest and back pain). Due to the heavy dust, none of the other convoy vehicles knew immediately that the rollover had happened. A rapid response from other vehicles in the convoy occurred after it was discovered that Engine 1 had rolled off the road.
The three crewmembers of Engine 1 were assessed for injuries and then driven back to the ICP. At the ICP, an ambulance that had been called to respond met the Engine 1 crew and transported them to a local medical facility in Meeker. After a thorough medical assessment, it was determined that no serious injuries had occurred, and all 3 were released from the hospital at approximately 0630 on the morning of July 9th.
Thankfully there were no serious injuries.
The report stated, “The Headache Rack saved the cab from crushing worse than it did.” A body-mounted “headache rack” is only designed to prevent cargo from entering the passenger compartment during a sudden stop and is far to weak to provide serious rollover protection.
This is the 59th article on Wildfire Today that is tagged “rollover”. These accidents are common, and wildland fire engines should be designed with real frame-mounted roll bars, not cheap-ass expanded metal grates protecting the glass in the rear window.
The fire burned over 54,000 acres north of Durango, Colorado in June, 2018
At least six local residents and business owners in the Durango, Colorado area have filed a lawsuit against the company that operates the steam engine-powered train that hauls tourists on a 50-mile route between that city and Silverton. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad locomotive burns coal which heats water, converting it to steam. Similar powered trains are known to start fires when burning embers are produced along with the smoke. The suit alleges that the train started a fire on June 1 north of Durango that eventually burned over 54,000 acres in very steep terrain west of Highway 550.
When the fire first started it was named the “Train xx Fire”. But instead of the “xx” there was a number, which gave the impression that a train had also started other fires in the area. After the fire quickly grew very large, the name was changed to “416 Fire”. The U.S. Forest Service investigated to determine the cause, but according to an article in the Durango Herald they have not released the results, which will likely be reviewed by Colorado State Attorney General’s office before they are revealed in late fall or early winter.
The people that filed the lawsuit claim the fire adversely affected tourism, causing a 5.6 percent drop in sales tax and a 13.2 percent drop in lodgers tax over the same period in 2017.
Below are excerpts from the Herald’s article:
Plaintiffs say the company and its owner knew, or should have known, of the drought conditions that existed at the time the fire started.
The company did work to prevent this possibility. The train has its own firefighting tactics, such as having pop cars with water tankers follow a train to extinguish small fires and a helicopter to tackle fires from the air.
But plaintiffs say the railway operator was not equipped to extinguish this blaze. It had just laid off its veteran crew of firefighters at the beginning of the year, the lawsuit states, and replaced them “with employees much less experienced in fire mitigation and firefighting techniques.”
Fire crews “were unable to put down the fire because they were insufficiently trained by the defendant and/or because the firefighting equipment provided on the pop car was wholly insufficient to appropriately respond to the fire,” attorneys wrote in the lawsuit.
The video below is an interview with Cres Fleming who was the second person on scene at the 416 Fire June 1, 2018.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Gary. Typos or errors, report them HERE.
A new study by Florida State University researchers indicates that common satellite imaging technologies have vastly underestimated the number of fires in Florida.
Their report, published in collaboration with researchers from the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy, challenges well-established beliefs about the nature and frequency of fire in the Sunshine State. While there were more fires than expected, researchers said, strategically prescribed burns throughout the state are proving an effective force against the ravages of wildfire.
For scientists studying fire, sophisticated satellites whizzing far above the Earth’s surface have long represented the best tool for monitoring wildfires and prescribed burns — carefully controlled and generally small fires intended to reduce the risk of unmanageable wildfires.
But FSU researchers suggest that fire experts themselves have been getting burned by faulty data, and that broadly accepted estimates of fire area and fire-based air pollutants might be flawed.
“There are well-known challenges in detecting fires from satellites,” said lead investigator Holly Nowell, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science. “Here we show that only 25 percent of burned area in Florida is detected.”
Using comprehensive ground-based fire records from the Florida Forest Service — which regulates and authorizes every request for a prescribed burn in the state — researchers found dramatic discrepancies between fires detected by satellites and fires documented by state managers.
The majority of fires in Florida come in the form of prescribed burns, but because these fires are designed to be brief and contained, they often fall under the radar of satellites soaring overhead.
This is especially true in a state like Florida, where dense cloud cover is common and the warm, wet climate allows vegetation to regrow quickly after a blaze, disguising the scars that fires leave in their wake.
“Like a detective, satellites can catch a fire ‘in the act’ or from the ‘fingerprints’ they leave behind,” said study co-author Christopher Holmes, an assistant professor in EOAS. “In our area, catching an active fire in a thermal image can be hard because the prescribed fires are short, and we have frequent clouds that obscure the view from space.”
The state fire records also revealed a counterintuitive truth: Unlike in western states such as California, where dry conditions frequently produce massive increases in destructive and often uncontrollable fires, Florida actually experiences a decrease in land consumed by fire during drought.
When drought conditions emerge, researchers said, officials are less likely to authorize prescribed burns. And because prescribed burns account for the overwhelming majority of fires in the state, overall fire activity decreases.
This also suggests that prescribed burning programs — which aim to reduce the risk of wildfire in dry conditions — are having a materially positive effect.
“Although we still have occasional destructive wildfires, including the recent tragic Eastpoint fire, our results indicate that prescribed fire policy is helping to reduce wildfire risk,” Holmes said, referencing the June 2018 wildfire that destroyed dozens of homes in Florida’s Big Bend region.
Tall Timbers specialist Tracy Hmielowski uses a drip torch to ignite vegetation as part of a prescribed burn. Credit: Kevin Robertson
While the team’s study reconfirms the utility of prescribed burning, it calls into question prevailing estimates for airborne pollution from fire. If, as the study suggests, only 25 percent of fires in Florida are detected by satellites, then there could be “a rather large bias and a significant potential underestimation of emissions,” Nowell said.
The study’s findings are specific to Florida, but researchers suspect that similar satellite limitations may be skewing fire detection — and, consequently, emission estimates — in neighboring regions and geographically analogous areas like the savannas of Africa or the agricultural belts of Europe and Asia.
“We believe this result easily extends to the rest of the Southeast United States — which burns more area than the rest of the United States combined in a typical year — and other similar regions throughout the world that use small prescribed burns as a land management technique,” Nowell said.
Kevin Robertson, Casey Teske and Kevin Hiers from Tall Timbers contributed to this study. The research was funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Tom. Typos or errors, report them HERE.