Time-lapse of prescribed fire in southwest Colorado

The video shows a time-lapse of a prescribed fire in Lone Mesa State Park in the Groundhog Reservoir area. (map)

Time-lapse of prescribed fire in Cuyamaca State Park

Bob Eisele sent us these two time-lapse videos of a February 4, 2015 prescribed fire in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park in San Diego County. He told us on Friday:

The area was abut 100 acres of hand cut brush (ceanothus palmeri) with logs and snags left from the 2003 Cedar Fire. The entire mountain burned in 2003 leaving no seed trees to restart the mixed conifer forest. Total ignition time was about four hours. The burn was conducted by the California State Parks in cooperation with CAL FIRE.

The area was planted this week with native conifers.

The video above is a time-lapse of a prescribed fire on Middle Peak in San Diego County, as seen from Cuyamaca Peak in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, February 4, 2015. Credit for the video goes to California State Parks employees.

The video below was shot by a camera on Mt. Laguna, which automatically replaces the image of the sun with a black dot. The camera is provided by the University of San Diego HPWREN.

Photos and time-lapse of prescribed fire, Black Hills of South Dakota

Benjamin Carstens shot this time-lapse video and the still photos on December 12, 2014 of a prescribed fire two miles northeast of Sheridan Lake in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

prescribed fire prescribed fire prescribed fire prescribed fire prescribed fire

The making of the Whaley Gulch time lapse video

camera slider or dolly
Benjamin Carstens’ camera slider or dolly. Photo by Mr. Carstens.

Being an enthusiastic amateur photographer, I was curious about how Benjamin Carstens made the time lapse video of the Whaley Gulch prescribed fire north of Hill City, SD that we published a week ago. It was not an ordinary time-lapse — it was obvious that the camera was moving very smoothly while the images were being recorded.

Mr. Carstens told us that he used a Canon 5D Mark3. He began the shot at about 5:45 p.m. and ended it at 9 p.m. He used Photoshop and Lightroom to do basic editing, and then Irtimelapse to merge the individual images, shot 25 seconds apart, into a video.

The photo above shows his dolly or slider that moves the camera while the photos are being taken.

There are other cameras that can make time lapse videos without the need for any other equipment. But without the dolly/slider you will not get the camera movement effect which adds a degree of professionalism. Some GoPro cameras can shoot time lapse, but may require some manipulation in their proprietary software to produce the finished video product.

I recently got a Sony A6000, a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, to which I uploaded an optional software app for time lapse. It creates the video directly without the need for any other processing or software. I really like the camera. Since it does not have a mirror that flops up and down when you take a photo, it can be much smaller and lighter than a conventional DSLR. It has a 24 MP APS-C sensor, ISO up to 51,200, one of the fastest auto focusing systems in existence, can shoot at 11 frames per second (great for air tankers dropping), and built in Wi-Fi, making it possible to transfer photos to your cell phone or computer without swapping cards.

I made the above 13-second time lapse video with the Sony camera, showing clouds moving toward the south over a 45 minute period. The 390 images were shot 7 seconds apart and saved by the camera as a 30 frames per second 279MB .avi file, which I converted on my computer to a 13MB .wmv file. I am looking forward to making a time lapse of a wildfire.

Mr. Carstens sent us more photos taken at the Whaley Gulch prescribed fire as the crews were finishing up the project on November 6.

Whaley Gulch prescribed fire
Whaley Gulch prescribed fire, November 6, 2014. Photo by Benjamin Carstens.
Whaley Gulch prescribed fire
Whaley Gulch prescribed fire, November 6, 2014. Photo by Benjamin Carstens.

Throwback Thursday: our coverage of the Yarnell Hill Fire, one year ago

In today’s Throwback Thursday, we will take a look at how we covered the Yarnell Hill Fire that killed 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew. We began writing the article at 6:15 p.m. MDT, June 30, 2014 and continued updating it through July 5. Like our other articles about fires that are updated over a period of days, it had the most recent updates at the top. However, for ease of reading, we put it in chronological order below.


(Originally published at 6:15 p.m. MDT, June 30, 2013)

Map of Yarnell Fire
A 3-D map showing icons representing heat detected on the Yarnell Fire by a satellite at 11:55 a.m. MDT, June 30, 2013. The locations of the icons are accurate to within about a mile. (click to enlarge)

The Yarnell Fire has been burning for about 48 hours and already a Type 1 Incident Management Team, Clay Templin’s, has been ordered. A Type 3 IMTeam (Hall) had assumed command at 10 a.m. Sunday [June 30].

As you can see on the map above, at 11:55 a.m. MDT Sunday the fire appeared to be about a mile from Yarnell, Arizona, which is 26 miles southwest of Prescott. However the icons representing heat can be as much as a mile in error. The Southwest Area Coordination Center reports the fire has burned 800 to 1,000 acres.

ABC15 occasionally has live video of the fire, but for the short time I watched it, before it went to nothing but commercials, it was only showing helicopter footage of extreme closeups of flames, providing no context. The TV station is reporting 1,500 acres have burned forcing the evacuation of 600 people.

Jeffrey Blackburn has several photos of the fire, including the one below.

Yarnell Fire
Yarnell Fire, photo by Jeffrey Blackburn

The nearby Stanton weather station recorded temperatures Sunday afternoon [June 30] up to 103 degrees and a low relative humidity of 14 percent. The forecast for Monday is more moderate, with a high temperature of 91 degrees, relative humidity around 20 percent, and 3-9 mph winds out of the southwest.


(UPDATED at 7:58 MDT, June 30, 2013)

At 6:55 p.m. MST @ArizonaNewsnet reported “The fire has engulfed the town of Yarnell. Multiple structures burning.”

This was apparently caused by a 180-degree shift in the direction of the wind. From 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. local time at the Stanton RAWS weather station four miles south of the fire, the wind was from the south-southwest or southwest, but at 5 p.m. it began blowing from the north-northeast at 22 to 26 mph gusting up to 43 mph. This may have pushed the fire into the town.

If there were any firefighters on the south or southwest side of the fire between 4 and 5 p.m., who previously had the wind at their backs for seven hours with the fire moving away from them, they may have suddenly and unexpectedly found the fire heading toward them at a rapid rate. Wind direction changes like this are sometimes caused by a passing thunderstorm with strong outflowing downdrafts.

Data from Stanton RAWS weather station, near Yarnell, AZ
Data from Stanton RAWS weather station, near Yarnell, AZ, June 30, 2013

As of about 6 p.m. MDT a 15-mile stretch of US State Route 89 was closed.

“@wildfirediva” had information about air tankers:

We’ve got 3 Large Airtankers loading at Prescott, 2 VLATs loading at IWA & 4 SEATs loading at Wickenburg all for #YarnelHillFire #AZFire
6:11 PM – 30 Jun 2013

Note: “IWA” is Phoenix-Gateway airport.

Three medical helicopters are responding to Yarnell Fire Station, according to Arizona News Net:

Arizona News
#YarnellHill Fire: Multiple burn patients. Landing zone for medical helicopters at Yarnell Fire Station. #azfire
6:42 PM – 30 Jun 2013

At 7:08 p.m. smoke was preventing the helicopters from landing at Yarnell, @AZcentral reports. They are landing at Morristown Fire Station (between Phoenix & Wickenburg) to rendezvous with ground ambulances.
Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: our coverage of the Yarnell Hill Fire, one year ago”

Oregon: Two Bulls fire west of Bend

(UPDATE at 1:40 p.m. PT, June 11, 2014)

The Incident Management Team reports that the Two Bulls Fire has not grown over the last 24 hours with the exception of a small 1/4 acre spot fire that was detected and suppressed outside the main perimeter. The fire is listed at 6,906 acres and 40 percent containment. This will be our last update unless the status of the fire changes dramatically.


(UPDATE at 8:20 a.m. PT, June 10, 2014)

Map of Two Bulls Fire
Map of Two Bulls Fire. The yellow line was the perimeter on June 8. The red line was 24 hours later, at 11 p.m. PT, June 9, 2014.

The Two Bulls Fire three miles west of Bend, Oregon grew by about 100 acres on Monday, bringing the total number of burned acres to approximately 6,900. All of the spread was on the west side of the fire. Fire managers said they have a fire line around the east and south sides, while line construction continues on the west side.

Evacuation notices are still in effect for 50 homes. No structures have burned in the fire.

Investigators located the points of origin of the two fires that burned together to form what became the Two Bulls Fire. They collected evidence and announced that the blazes were human caused. Cascade Timberlands has put up a $2,000 reward for information that leads to a successful conviction.


(UPDATE at 8:55 a.m. PT, June 9, 2014)

Map of Two Bulls Fire at 9 p.m. PT June 8, 2014
Map of Two Bulls Fire at 9 p.m. PT June 8, 2014

Finally we have a good map, above, of the Two Bulls Fire three miles west of Bend, Oregon. Fire officials said the latest mapping puts it at 6,800 acres. Firefighters have completed a fireline around the east and south sides, but they are only calling it five percent contained.

Below is an excerpt from information provided Monday morning by the Incident Management Team:

Good progress was made both yesterday during the day and night with firefighters taking advantage of some calmer weather conditions. The priority of securing fireline around the eastern and southern portions of the fire was met and it is anticipated that hoselines will be put into place along that line by the end of today with some mop-up activities commencing there. Some of the available crews from the east flank divisions were reassigned to the western flank of the fire today to help in securing fireline on that portion. Structure protection task forces mobilized under the Oregon State Conflagration Act continue to work around the threatened structures and have contingency plans in place to help protect the watershed facilities if the fire jumps containment lines.

TWITTER: @twobullsfire,

Dry weather conditions will continue to keep temperatures in the upper 70’s and lower 80’s and relative humidity dipping below 20%. The main concern for today will be hold the lines on the southern portion of the fire and out of the City of Bend’s watershed, as winds are forecasted to get gusty from the northwest at 10-18 mph in the afternoon as a weak upper level disturbance moves over the area.
• 6,800 acres consisting of heavy brush and timber
• 250 homes threatened with 50 remaining under Level III Evacuation
• No structures lost or damaged
• No injuries
• Cause under investigation
• 5% containment
• 11 helicopters, 46 engines, 11 dozers, and 708 personnel assigned to the fire
• Estimated costs to date- $1.23 million Public Information Meeting
An informational meeting open to all public and media will be held Monday evening at 6:00 pm at Bend High School, located at 230 NE 6th St in Bend. Fire representatives will give a current and expected fire briefing and will be available to address questions and concerns.

The Bend Bulletin has an interactive map showing the evacuation areas.

Two Bulls Fire map
Two Bulls Fire map 6-9-2014, used for briefing firefighters. Photo by George Ponte, ODF.

Map of smoke created by the Two Bulls Fire:

Smoke from Two Bulls Fire, at 9:51 a.m. PT, June 9, 2014
Smoke from Two Bulls Fire, at 9:51 a.m. PT, June 9, 2014

The video below is a time-lapse of the fire burning at night

On FireAviation.com is a video of air tankers taking off at Redmond, OR en route to drop retardant on the Two Bulls Fire.

Continue reading “Oregon: Two Bulls fire west of Bend”