At least five very large fires are currently active in the United States:
Gap in northern California,
Pioneer in central Idaho,
Maple in Yellowstone National Park,
Soberanes on the central coast of California, and,
Beaver Creek in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming.
Below we have progression maps of these fires (in that order).
We recently found out about a new website that has developed a very impressive mapping service for wildfires. It was the source of these maps. The site not only shows the locations, but in some cases for large fires it displays the perimeters — which can be animated to see the growth or progression of the fire over time. They have this information going back to 2003. It is on the EcoWest website and was created by a collaboration of the Sea to Snow company and the Bill Lance Center for the American West at Stanford University.
The perimeter data is dependent on what is made available by the agencies managing the fire, so there is not always a perimeter for every day.
You can minimize the Description box by clicking the down arrow at the top-right of the box.
(Update Sept. 22, 2020: the data from EcoWest previously posted below is no longer available.)
Above: The Gap Fire as seen from the Klamath River. Undated photo from InciWeb.
The Gap Fire has been burning in Seiad Valley 20 miles northwest of Yreka, California for 11 days. It grew quickly during that time to now cover almost 28,000 acres, but firefighters are beginning to get a handle on the blaze. That effort is helped by barriers on at least two sides — the Klamath River on the south, and the two-year old scar from the Beaver Fire.
The Gap Fire has burned into the footprint from the Beaver Fire. Burning operations along the river and on the north side are likely to hold those areas. And, the west flank is also looking good.
The photo below was taken August 12, 2014 at the Beaver Fire north of the Klamath River.
Advisory evacuations are in place for some areas along the Klamath River.
On Tuesday firefighters will continue to work on the firing operations on the north and south sides and provide structure protection along the river.
The incident management team reports that two structures were destroyed near Hick’s Gulch on the north side of the Klamath River, but have yet to be assessed on the ground.
On Tuesday the Pioneer Fire in central Idaho continued its march to the north, adding another 16,000 acres to bring the total to over 157,000 acres. Burning 32 miles northeast of Boise and 23 miles west of Stanley, it has been creating huge convection columns rising 30,000 feet into the atmosphere for the last two days.
Most of the growth on Tuesday was on the north side while it was pushed by an 8 to 12 mph wind gusting at 18 to 24 that was variable, but mostly out of the south. As we write this at 2:50 p.m. on Wednesday, the wind so far today has been out of the west and northwest at 4 to 10 mph with gusts of 16 to 24. The smoke being pushed to the east will probably make the air quality rather unpleasant in Stanley, due east of the fire.
The fire was very active late into Tuesday night due to the low relative humidity which ranged from 24 to 30 percent during the night at the White Hawk weather station at 8,344 feet elevation. At 2:33 p.m on Wednesday it was 66 degrees with 21 percent humidity.
The Pioneer Fire is one of five currently active fires in the United States that are staffed by more than 1,000 personnel.
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As of Tuesday evening the total number of resources assigned to fires in the US included 444 hand crews, 1,060 engines, 147 helicopters, and 19,064 personnel. When the number of crews approaches 500 and there are almost 20,000 personnel committed, you know things are getting busy.