Ethiopia Forest Fire Emergency Update: 20 March 2000, 08:00 GMT

Ethiopia Forest Fire Emergency Update

20 March 2000, 08:00 GMT

Ethiopia Fire Emergency Update (19 March 2000 16:00 GMT)

There were heavy showers in Robe (Friday night) and Goba (Saturday) and Bore Forest (Borana Zone). However, the southern parts of the fire effected areas have not received any rains as yet and fires continue to burn.
In Dolo Mena area (Bale Zone) there are still two major fires burning in Mada Wellabo and Nensabo locations. Likewise, two major fires were reported from Shakiso area (Borana Zone).
During the last two days 271 mobilised fire fighters (community members, militia men, etc.) were successfully trained in fire fighting techniques. The previously trained Ethiopian soldiers effectively contributed as trainers and, hence, to the training success.
Since Saturday one helicopter is deployed for dropping water over actual fire sites. The Ethiopian pilots are progressing well and improve their skills with every drop.
The Incident Command Team received an updated map with fire spots and perimeters of burned areas. A large area exceeding 100,000 ha was calculated as being burned or still burning as of 17 March 2000. However, it should be noted that the fires are quite patchy, i.e. not all forest areas within the delineated perimeters are fully burned. This is the reason why a correct estimation is not possible at moment. Only the interpretation of high resolution satellite imagery, associated with ground truthing, will provide precise data. Thus, no official number of area burned can be released as of the moment.
The surveyors also identified more than 100 fire spots (smoke columns) at that time.
Starting from Monday 20 March 2000, logistical arrangements will be made to relocate the Air Base Camp to Shakiso (Borana Zone). The Government of Ethiopia has replaced the damaged helicopter and it is planned to recommence air-borne fire fighting on the ground in this area.
About 50% of the South African team members will remain for another week (departure at 28 March 2000) and they will be complemented by a larger group of Ethiopian nationals. Depending on the conditions, also training activities for ground-based fire fighters will be carried out in Borana Zone. Water bombing activities will be continued as well, until all accessible (in economic flight distance) fires are suppressed.

Satellite Fire Reconnaissance Update
The update information by satellite sensors is provided by imageries of the U.S. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP).

Attention: Next satellite image update is expected for tomorrow morning (21 March 2000)!

16 March 2000, click to enlarge (449 KB) 16 March 2000, click to enlarge (25 KB) 16 March 2000, click to enlarge (45 KB)

Fig.1-3 DMSP scenes of East Africa, 16 March 2000.The red dots represent active fires. Land signature: brown; water: blue; clouds: grey; stable lights (cities): cyan. The center and right fire map show the area in which the problem fires are currently burning and fire-suppression actions take place.
(Fig.1.: Upper left corner 20°N, 22°E lower right corner 0°N, 50°E; Fig.2 & 3: Upper left corner 9°N, 38°E lower right corner 5°N, 42°E)
(source: DMSP. The provision of satellite data are a response of the U.S. Government to the Government of Ethiopia’s call for international assistance.)

Ethiopia Current Fire Weather Situation and Forecast
Fire Weather Forecast for the Southern Region:

Tab.1. Addis Abba AREA FORECAST FOR 14H00 Monday 20 March 2000
There is a fairly good chance for rain in the medium term, at least scattered showers and or thundershowers, and may also start to include the main valley towards the sea in the north-east of the country.

6 Day 14h00 Forecast Ethiopia Region Addis Abba Area Day Temp (C) Hum (%) W Dir WSpd (km/h) Bar (Hpa) FDI Tendency Mon 20 32 37 E 16 1002 65 Orange – Tue 21 31 45 SE 17 1007 62 Orange – Wed 22 29 55 SE 20 1004 59 Yellow – Thu 23 28 56 NE 17 1008 55 Yellow – Fri 24 27 65 NE 21 1007 53 Yellow – Sat 25 28 61 NE 18 1005 54 Yellow

Tab.2. Goba AREA FORECAST FOR 14H00 Monday 20 March 2000

6 Day 14h00 Forecast Ethiopia Region Goba Area Day Temp (C) Hum (%) W Dir WSpd (km/h) Bar (Hpa) FDI Tendency Mon 20 27 41 SE 15 1007 58 Yellow – Tue 21 28 45 SE 14 1007 56 Yellow – Wed 22 26 50 SW 15 1007 54 Yellow – Thu 23 25 55 SE 14 1009 50 Yellow – Fri 24 24 68 NE 20 1010 49 Yellow – Sat 25 25 63 SE 15 1008 48 Yellow

Source of forecast tables: Net Forecasting (South Africa) on the base of data from the ECMWF (European Center For Medium Range Weather Forecasts) and the U.K.M.O. (United Kingdom Meteorological Office).

click to enlarge (90 KB) click to enlarge (87 KB)

Fig.4.and 5. Fire weather forecast maps for Ethiopia, 20 and 21 March 2000
(Source: Net Forecasting)

Also available is a three-month rain forecast (starting 26 February 2000). The implications of this forecast are discussed by Net Forecasting.

An Eastern Africa and the Horn Satellite Imagery (NDVI) and rainfall analysis is provided by the USAID Famine Early Warning System.

The Ethiopian National Fire Fighting Committee, supported by the International Fire Emergency Advisory Group, has set up an Incident Command System. The structure of the system is given in the chart (Fig.6).

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Fig.6. Structure of the Incident Command System (State: 20 March 2000)

Nationalgeographic / News has published an article which describes the ongoing fires resulting from slash-and-burn practices in Africa and Indonesia with information and imageries from last days GFMC webpages: Slash-and-Burn Agriculture Sparks Devastating Fires (16 March 2000).

For further information (history of the current fire situation, etc.) please refer also to the earlier reports this and last week at the Current Significant Fire Events page. Some visual impressions from the currently ongoing fires in Ethiopia and several photographs taken from the Space Shuttle missions in the 1980s and 1990s with general impression of land cover and fires are also available.

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