Forest Fires in the United States: 1 September 1999

Forest Fires in the United States

1 September 1999

The National Interagency Fire Center reported on 31 August 1999 that 23 large fires in California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Texas for a total of nearly 150,000 acres are burning. More than 11,000 firefighters are battling blazes throughout the West and are supported by 849 engines, 102 helicopters, 5 airtankers, and 2,059 support personnel.  The areas of fire are shown in the large fire map below.

Wildland fires in southern California, driven by strong winds, forced numerous evacuations and destroyed several structures. Current threats remain to residents in several areas throughout southern California. Firefighters in northern California made good progress on the remaining fire complexes, with containment reached on the 33,000 acre Butte Complex. A fire weather watch, however, posted for northern California, predicting gusty winds and low relative humidities may cause control problems on some of these ongoing fire complexes.

Fire Weather Outlook
A red flag warning is posted for the Sacramento Valley of northern California for gusty northeast winds and decreasing relative humidity.
A fire weather watch is posted for southeast Montana for strong west winds and low relative humidity.

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Fig. 1. Large Wildland Fires in the United States, 31 August 1999
(National Interagency Fire Center)

For more information please refer to the website of National Interagency Fire Center.

The BLM – Alaska Fire Service   Initial Attack Management System (IAMS) is suite of computer applications developed by BLM/Fire to aid dispatchers and fire managers. IAMS Maps is one of these applications and provides graphical representation of various kinds of geographic data. Maps has been modified to produce output to a Web site to allow internet access to the data that IAMS stores. Dynamic data such as lightning (available May – September), fires, etc. are updated at the homepage of the BLM – Alaska Fire Service  (select Maps / AFS IAMS Maps Viewer) every 15 minutes during the fire season.

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Fig.2. IAMS image of active fires in Alaska, 31 August 1999
(Source: BLM – Alaska Fire Service )

Several active fire signals are recorded by OSEI with the NOAA-15 POES AVHRR HRPT on 31 August 1999 in California and southwestern Idaho.

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Fig. 3. The image shows heat signatures from large areas of fire burning in California and southwestern Idaho.
(Source: NOAA

According the INCIDENT MANAGEMENT SITUATION REPORT the current situation for 31 August 1999 can be quoted as follows:

Initial attack activity was moderate in most areas. New large fire activity was reported in the Southern California, Eastern Great Basin, Western Great Basin, Northern Rockies and Southern Areas. Large fire activity continued in the Northern California, Southern California, Eastern Great Basin, Western Great Basin and Southern Areas. Competition exists for Type I crews. The National Interagency Coordination Center mobilized helicopters, infrared aircraft, telecommunications equipment, commissary, engines, shower unit, crews, and miscellaneous overhead. Very high to extreme fire indices were reported in Oregon, Washington, California, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming, Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

A deep upper level trough will bring cooler conditions, scattered showers and high mountain snow showers to Washington, Oregon, Idaho and northwestern Montana. Breezy conditions will remain through this morning. In the lee of the Rocky Mountains, over eastern Montana and Wyoming, strong west to southwest winds of 20 to 30 mph are expected along a cold front. The front will trigger scattered afternoon showers and thunderstorms. As high pressure builds over Oregon, northern California will experience northeast winds which will reduce relative humidities in the valleys. Winds are expected to be 15 to 25 mph over the Sacramento valley. Monsoonal moisture will bring widely scattered showers and thunderstorms to New Mexico, southeast Utah and Colorado, as well as the higher terrain of Arizona.
Mostly sunny conditions will range over the Great Basin, with southwest winds of 15 to 20 mph.
Texas and Oklahoma will be sunny and hot with temperatures in the 90’s. A slight chance of thunderstorms in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandle as well as west Texas, with mainly south winds at 10 to 20 mph.
… .”

Following basic fire data describe the fire situation in the United States:

Number of FIRES in the last 24 hours HECTARES burning in the last 24 hours FIRES
YEAR-TO-DATE 288 25,541 69,852 1,715,385

For detailed information regarding specified regions, please refer to the whole report.

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