Operational Significant Event Imagery (OSEI) The following significant events were identified by Satellite Analysis Branch meteorologists and reviewed by the OSEI support team of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):
NESDIS/OSEI NOAA-14 POES AVHRR LAC satellite images, A large heat signature (red) and smoke plume (light blue haze) are visible from a fires burning in Saskatchewan. (Source: OSEI/NOAA)
Strong winds fan forest fires across Canadian west CALGARY, Alberta – A wildfire burning huge tracts of tinder-dry northern Alberta forest spread last week despite the efforts of an army of firefighters, and meteorologists predicted little change in the hot, windy weather that has fanned the blaze. The inferno, which forced the evacuation of a small community, has grown by about 16 percent in the past two days to 1,400 square km (540.6 square miles), an area roughly 1-3/4 times that of New York City, officials said. “It looks like there is no help from Mother Nature in the foreseeable future, with the exception of possibly some lighter winds,” Patrick Loewen, an Alberta wildfire information officer, told reporters. The so-called House River fire, just one of dozens of forest fires across Western Canada, is devouring woodlands about 300 km (186 miles) northeast of Edmonton. It is the 8th-largest in Alberta history, Loewen said. The 250 residents of remote Conklin, Alberta were forced this week to flee their homes because of advancing flames. Officials said last week the fire was within 11 km (7 miles) of the village. The blaze has also forced frequent closures of the main highway leading to the oil sands hub of Fort McMurray, and led to the evacuation of several of the region’s oil industry sites. Nearly 900 firefighters were battling the blaze with an arsenal of equipment, including 108 bulldozers, 55 helicopters and eight water bombers, officials said. Winds gusting up to 50 km per hour (30 mph) were whipping up the flames last week and no major rainfall was in the forecast. “They may see the odd shower here and there, but it’s not even going to be close to what we might need to start giving us some help on this fire,” Alberta meteorologist Paul Kruger said. More than 700 firefighters from Alberta, the Yukon, British Columbia and Ontario also battled blazes in the Prairie province of Saskatchewan, where a lack of rain and warm temperatures have created an extreme fire hazard. There were 35 fires burning in that province last week, seven of which were out of control. Some fires, fueled again by strong winds, were spreading as fast as 100 metres (yards) a minute, conservation officials said. Provincial environment officials assigned the highest priority to combating a 200-hectare (500-acre) fire in west central Saskatchewan, near Turtle Lake where flames had already destroyed about 55 cottages and forced about 40 people from their homes. “With the conditions that we have now any fires that start are going to burn actively and grow,” said Val Nicholson, a spokeswoman with Saskatchewan’s fire center. Next door in north-central Manitoba, a large fire near Red Deer Lake that burned through 3,800 hectares (9,400 acres) remained contained with the help of more than 200 firefighters. The communities of Powell and Barrows were taken off a one-hour evacuation alert. But four new fires started in Manitoba last week – two from lightening strikes – and conservation and fire officials said they feared additional blazes. “We continue to dry out and the situation continues to slowly edge towards being more and more serious all the time,” Tom Mirus, a duty officer with Manitoba’s Conservation Department, told reporters. (Source: Planet Ark)
CSA RADARSAT-1 Disaster Watch Report The requests in this report were acquired within the past 72 hours.