Forest Fires in the United States: 26 July 1999

Forest Fires in the United States

26 July 1999

Possible vegetation fires were detected by NESDIS/OSEI with the NOAA-15 AVHRR HRPT satellite on 23 July 1999.

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Fig.1. and 2. The left image shows heat signatures and smoke from fires, some of them quite large, burning in Idaho, Montana and along the border of Nevada and Utah. The large fire in southeastern Idaho has placed the community of Atomic City, Idaho (west of Idaho Falls) on voluntary evacuation. This fire covers nearly 30,000 acres.The right image gives a closer look at the most active fire area including the fire near Atomic City mentioned in the narrative above.

Additional to the usual satellite imagery the IAMS of the BLM – Alaska Fire Service is introduced (Fig.3.). The 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.3. IAMS image of active fires in Alaska, 26 July 1999
(Source: BLM – Alaska Fire Service )

Regarding the INCIDENT MANAGEMENT SITUATION REPORT the current situation for 22 July 1999 and the can be quoted as follows:
Moderate initial attack activity was reported in the western United States. New large fires were reported in the Northern Rockies, Eastern Basin, and California Areas. Good progress was made on large fires in the Northern Rockies and southern California Areas. The National Interagency Coordination Center mobilized infrared aircraft, helicopters, radio equipment, a caterer, engines, crews and miscellaneous overhead. High to extreme fire indices were reported in Oregon, Washington, California, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming and New Jersey.

Coastal areas and inland California, northern and central Nevada will have little change in the weather. Warmer, drier conditions will exist in the inland Northwest, northern Rockies and northern plains. Western Arizona, extreme southern Nevada, southern and eastern Utah will be a little cooler and more humid with wide spread thunderstorms. Monsoon thunderstorms accompanied by locally heavy rain will occur across Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. Isolated dry lighting and locally strong gusty winds are possible along the leading edge of the monsoonal flow in western Utah, western Arizona and southern Nevada.
High temperatures will be in the 60’s and 70’s in the coastal areas and higher elevations. High temperatures at the lower elevations will be in the 80’s and 90’s. The southwest deserts will range from the 90’s to over 110 degrees.

The fire activity in the UNITED STATES can be described by following basic fire data:

Number of FIRES in the last 24 hours HECTARES burning in the last 24 hours FIRES
YEAR-TO-DATE 262 12,738 55,613 997,660

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

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