Fires in USA

Fires in USA

27 June 2007

Latest GOES image

The GOES satellite image shows a wildfire burning and producing a verylarge mass of dense smoke. This fire is two miles southwest of South Lake Tahoe. Over 200 houses, buildings and structures have been destroyed, so far. Another large wildfire burning in the Tehachapi Mountains of southern Californiais emitting a dense smoke plume.

(source: OSEI)

Angora Fire

South of Lake Tahoe, which straddles the Nevada-Californiastate line, a large fire destroyed at least 165 homes over the weekend of 23June 2007. This image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite shows the AngoraFire on June 24. The area in which MODIS detected actively burning fire isoutlined in red. A plume of brownish-gray smoke spreads northeast.

23 June 2007

According to the 25 June report from the National Interagency Fire Center,the Angora Fire was burning in timber and grass, was about 1,800 acres, and waszero percent contained.

The large image provided above has a spatial resolution (level of detail) of250 meters per pixel.

(source: EarthObservatory)

Wildfire jumps fireline in Lake Tahoe
26 June 2007

California, USA — Firefighters trying to tame a raging wildfire near LakeTahoe Tuesday suffered a setback when the blaze jumped a fireline near adensely populated area, forcing a new round of evacuations, authorities said.
Firefighters were working to protect the Tallac Village development outside SouthLake Tahoe when the blaze jumped their fireline, prompting theevacuation of the entire subdivision. It was unclear how many homes were subjectto the order.
“It’s a fairly populated area,” said U.S. Forest Service spokesman TimEvans. “That certainly is not good news for our firefighting efforts here.”
The danger to homes diminished overnight as firefighters got a badly neededadvantage on the inferno. But it was still burning throughout the day alongrugged, uninhabited slopes and authorities had cautioned that strong windsforecast to arrive Wednesday could fan the flames.
The flare-up is about three miles from where the fire started Sunday near thesouth end of Lake Tahoe. By Tuesday afternoon, the blaze had consumed more than2,700 acres and was about 40 percent contained, fire officials said. One minorinjury has been reported.
Meanwhile Tuesday, other families whose homes were in the path of the wildfirereturned to their property, finding some houses reduced to charred ruins andothers largely unscathed, except for the odor of smoke and a blanket of ash.
In the most heavily damaged neighborhoods, firefighters doused pockets oflingering flames. Smoke hung thick over blackened piles of rubble that were oncehomes to nurses, police officers and teachers.
“I didn’t save hardly anything in the house,” said retired firefighterJohn Hartzell, who lost his home of 20 years. Along with his wife, adult son anda daughter, he sorted through the rubble in search of any mementos.
“I got out with the clothes on my back, my fire coat and my helmet,”he said.
Elsewhere, a beautiful home stood nearly untouched, even though all the sod inits yard had burned.
“It picks and chooses,” said Lynn Cisl, whose home along the edge ofthe most damaged area also survived. “It’s sort of like a disease. It’sdevastating.”
Investigators determined that the fire began near Seneca Pond, an area popularwith runners and teenagers in this resort area along the California-Nevada stateline. They also said they were close to identifying its cause. An announcementon that was expected later Tuesday.
Authorities have said they believe the fire was caused by some kind of humanactivity, but U.S Forest Service officials said there was no indication it wasintentionally set.
The forest here was so dry that a discarded cigarette butt or match could easilyhave ignited the fire, Forest Service spokeswoman Beth Brady said. The area wasalso dotted with the remnants of illegal campfires, she said.
Experts have said California and the rest of the West are entering what could be a long and dangerous fireseason after one of the region’s driest winters on record. They warn that yearsof logging, development and forest mismanagement have left the Tahoe areaparticularly vulnerable to catastrophic wildfires.
“Lake Tahoe Basin is probably an extreme example, but very similarconditions exist throughout the SierraNevada,” Forest Service spokesman Matt Mathes said. “It canhappen literally anywhere at any moment.”
In Meyers, the charred landscape included manicured driveways leading to metalgarage doors that were still standing amid the ruins of destroyed homes.
Hartzell’s sister-in-law, Ruth Orozco, a nurse, also lost her home but was ableto escape with her two dogs and one cat.
“I can’t believe it’s all gone,” she said, breaking into tears.
Concerned about looting, dozens of sheriff’s deputies and California HighwayPatrol officers roamed the burned neighborhoods, ensuring that only those wholived in the area were allowed in. Cars lined up to pass through an elaboratecheckpoint where each vehicle’s window was marked with white shoe polish todesignate the street number of the home it was allowed to visit.
“It was eerie and awkward. You could see the expressions on everyone’sface,” said Lindsey Douglass, 22, after she made her way through the lineof more than 30 waiting cars.
Concerns about downed power lines and other hazards forced some homeowners todelay their return until later this week.


Lake Okeechobee Complex Fire

Florida’s multi-year drought reached extreme levels in latespring 2007, and the impacts ranged from water restrictions to dangerouswildfires. The water levels in Lake Okeechobee hit record low levels in May andJune, and swampy vegetation around the retreating shoreline began to dry out. Atthe end of May, more than 10,000 acres of desiccated vegetation in BuckheadMarsh burned in a fast-moving, wind-driven wildfire.

This image shows the burn scar left on the landscape by the fire. Captured on23 June 2007, by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and ReflectionRadiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite, the image reveals that a huge swath of the marsh between the lake andthe surrounding Herbert Hoover Dyke was scorched. The burned area appearscharcoal, while vegetation appears green. A few isolated clouds cast blackshadows to their west. Roadways and cement-lined canals appear as white lines.Small developed areas appear grayish-white. Lake Okeechobee appears silvery bluebecause of bright sunlight reflecting off the surface.

23 June 2007

Between mid-May and mid-June 2007, drought intensity across southern Florida,including the area around Lake Okeechobee, has teetered back and forth betweenCategory D3 (extreme drought) and D2 (severe drought) on the U.S. DroughtMonitor’s scale. According to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report from 24 June2007, Lake Okeechobee water levels were nearly 4.5 feet below their long-termaverage (1965-2006) for this time of year. Much of the area between the burnscar and the lake itself was previously underwater; it has been exposed as thewater level has fallen.

The large image provided above has a spatial resolution (level of detail) of250 meters per pixel.

(source: EarthObservatory)

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