Ethiopia Forest Fire Emergency Update: 28 March 2000, 08:00 GMT

Ethiopia Forest Fire Emergency Update

28 March 2000, 08:00 GMT

Ethiopia Fire Report received 27 March 2000 17:00 GMT
Bale Zone: Despite the rains in Dolo Mena area (Mena Angetu Woreda) which were reported yesterday, there were six new fires in Kumbi forest spotted this morning. Presumably, the fires were deliberately started by forest dwellers for landclearing purposes. Efforts are under way to re-mobilize fire fighters.
For the entire Bale Zone there are some official fire damage statistics (as of 23 March 2000), which are presented in the table below:

In Borana Zone fires continue to burn in the same areas as reported yesterday. In addition to these, a new fire in Alona Woreda has started. Fire intensity has slowed down this morning, and the number of fire spots was smaller. The fire around the micro wave tower still burns, but all combustible material in the immediate vicinity of tower has been cleared. Fire lines were established to contain the fire but this proves difficult due to the high number of collapsing trees. These are falling over the fire lines and start new fires in previously unburned areas.
The quality of water bombing continues to improve and proved very effective in supporting the ground crews around the micro wave tower.
Apart from the already reported rains, no new rainfalls were received in either of the two zones.

Satellite Fire Reconnaissance Update
The update information by satellite sensors is provided by NOAA / OSEI. The provision of satellite data are a response of the U.S. Government to the Government of Ethiopia’s call for international assistance.

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Fig.1. NOAA/AVHRR satellite image 27 March 2000: Heat signatures (red) and possible smoke (light blue) may be seen from fires burning in western Ethiopia and eastern Sudan . Positive identification of individuals fires is difficult because of solar heating.
(Source: NOAA/OSEI)

Ethiopia Current Fire Weather Situation and Forecast

Fire Weather Forecast for the Southern Region:

Tab.1. Addis Abba AREA FORECAST FOR 14H00 Tuesday 28 March 2000
Valley areas remain danger areas, that faces towards the north while the areas to the south has better chance for rain and lower fire danger indicies. Rain remains mainly in the southern hemisphere but there are one or two big cells from the ITCZ creeping northwards, mainly to the countries south and west of Ethiopia.

6 Day 14h00 Forecast Ethiopia Region Addis Abba Area Day Temp (C) Hum (%) W Dir WSpd (km/h) Bar (Hpa) FDI Tendency Tue 28 31 54 ESE 13 1006 56 Yellow – Wed 29 32 52 SE 14 1005 59 Yellow – Thu 30 33 45 NE 17 1007 65 Orange – Fri 31 34 42 NE 19 1005 69 Orange – Sat 1 29 51 SW 21 1002 60 Orange – Sun 2 30 48 NE 17 1005 60 Orange

Tab.2. Goba AREA FORECAST FOR 14H00 Tuesday 28 March 2000
A few well developed thunderstorms were detected over the south-western parts of the country while only light showers in the mountains to the south. In the valley and towards the coast little or no development. Rain that does occur will bring down the high values by miles.

6 Day 14h00 Forecast Ethiopia Region Goba Area Day Temp (C) Hum (%) W Dir WSpd (km/h) Bar (Hpa) FDI Tendency Tue 28 26 53 SE 13 1006 50 Yellow – Wed 29 28 54 SE 14 1005 53 Yellow – Thu 30 26 43 SE 17 1008 57 Yellow – Fri 31 27 39 SE 19 1007 62 Orange – Sat 1 25 47 SW 17 1005 55 Yellow – Sun 2 24 49 SE 15 1007 52 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).

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Fig.2. and 3. Fire weather forecast maps for Ethiopia, 28 and 29 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.4).

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Fig.4. 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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