Brush Fire in San Gabriel Mountains Still Raging, Scorches More Than 4,000 Acres


Brush Fire in San Gabriel Mountains Still Raging, Scorches More Than 4,000 Acres

03 September 2012

published by www.nbclosangeles.com


USA– The wildfire was reported after 3 p.m. on Sunday in the hills off San Gabriel Canyon Road. As of 3:45 Monday, the blaze continued to burn, having consumed more than 4,000 acres.

A brush fire in the San Gabriel Mountains that prompted the evacuation of Labor Day weekend campers and picnickers in the hills above Glendora, Calif. and burned more than 4,000 acres continued to rage Monday afternoon.

Containment of the so-called Williams Fire remained at 5 percent, unchanged from Sunday night.

Fire crews continued the aerial attack on the blaze about 10 miles south of Highway 2. As of 3:45 p.m., at least 20,000 gallons of fire retardant had been dropped on the fire from DC-10 aircraft.

The fire was moving on Monday afternoon toward Rattlesnake Canyon Ridge. Fire officials said the goal was to stop the fire there.

Some 1,000 people, many of them enjoying the three-day holiday, were evacuated from several communities and from three campgrounds as the fire spread in the largely recreational area, said Nathan Judy, a spokesman with the Angeles National Forest.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies searched hillside trails for any hikers who were still walking in the hills. The evacuations started after 3 p.m. Sunday in the area off of San Gabriel Canyon Road in Azusa. Officials closed roads leading into the hills.

The Williams Fire, which had grown to between 30 and 40 acres by 3:45 p.m., was initially reported at 2:30 p.m. as a 4-acre blaze. It grew to more than 700 acres by 5 p.m. and 3,600 acres by 9 p.m., according to fire officials.

Highway 39 was closed early Monday.

The fire is named after Camp Williams, which according its the website, is a “quiet haven tucked away in the spectacular San Gabriel Mountains.” It offers camping, swimming, fishing, hiking, biking, and panning for gold. The camp, located at the San Gabriel River East Fork has full-hook-up RV sites under giant oak trees.

The fire was burning uphill into heavy timber and steep, rugged terrain, fire officials said. Temperatures hovered in the low 80s and winds gusted to 12 mph by Sunday evening, forecasters said.

By morning morning, it was 75 degrees with 31 percent humidity, fire officials said. Winds gusted at about 2 mph.

A gray plume of smoke could be seen by commuters for miles. Some 400 firefighters were battling the blaze from the ground and air.

Maritza Martinez got out of the area when she noticed smoke.

“When we came up, we noticed a whole bunch of smoke and we started to notice something is burning and little by little the smoke started to grow,” she said. “My little sister was like, ‘Let’s go! Let’s go!'”

The experience was a first for Catharine Vega, one of nearly 12,000 visitors expected to use the park during the holiday weekend.

“I’ve never seen a real fire except on TV,” she said. “We stopped to see, and we saw actual flames and it was scary because we didn’t know what to do.

“You come here to enjoy and we were having fun.”

When the Fourmile Canyon Fire erupted west of Boulder in 2010, smoke from the wildfire poured into parts of the city including a site housing scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-08-evidence-heat-trapping-effects-wildfire-particles.html#jCpWithin 24 hours, a few researchers at the David Skaggs Research Center had opened up a particle sampling port on the roof of the building and started pulling in smoky air for analysis by two custom instruments inside. They became the first scientists to directly measure and quantify some unique heat-trapping effects of wildfire smoke particles.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-08-evidence-heat-trapping-effects-wildfire-particles.html#jCpWhen the Fourmile Canyon Fire erupted west of Boulder in 2010, smoke from the wildfire poured into parts of the city including a site housing scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Within 24 hours, a few researchers at the David Skaggs Research Center had opened up a particle sampling port on the roof of the building and started pulling in smoky air for analysis by two custom instruments inside. They became the first scientists to directly measure and quantify some unique heat-trapping effects of wildfire smoke particles. “For the first time we were able to measure these warming effects minute-by-minute as the fire progressed,” said CIRES scientist Dan Lack, lead author of the study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers also were able to record a phenomenon called the “lensing effect,” in which oils from the fire coat the soot particles and create a lens that focuses more light onto the particles. This can change the “radiative balance” in an area, sometimes leading to greater warming of the air and cooling of the surface. While scientists had previously predicted such an effect and demonstrated it in laboratory experiments, the Boulder researchers were one of the first to directly measure the effect during an actual wildfire. Lack and his colleagues found that lensing increased the warming effect of soot by 50 to 70 percent. “When the fire erupted on Labor Day, so many researchers came in to work to turn on instruments and start sampling that we practically had traffic jams on the road into the lab,” Lack said. “I think we all realized that although this was an unfortunate event, it might be the best opportunity to collect some unique data. It turned out to be the best dataset, perfectly suited to the new instrument we had developed.” The instrument called a spectrophotometer can capture exquisite detail about all particles in the air, including characteristics that might affect the smoke particles’ tendency to absorb sunlight and warm their surroundings. While researchers know that overall, wildfire smoke can cause this lensing effect, the details have been difficult to quantify, in part because of sparse observations of particles from real-world fires. Once the researchers began studying the data they collected during the fire, it became obvious that the soot from the wildfire was different in several key ways from soot produced by other sources—diesel engines, for example. “When vegetation burns, it is not as efficient as a diesel engine, and that means some of the burning vegetation ends up as oils,” Lack said. In the smoke plume, the oils coated the soot particles and that microscopic sheen acted like a magnifying glass, focusing more light onto the soot particles and magnifying the warming of the surrounding air. The researchers also discovered that the oils coating the soot were brown, and that dark coloration allowed further absorption of light, and therefore further warming the atmosphere around the smoke plume. The additional warming effects mean greater heating of the atmosphere enveloped in dark smoke from a wildfire, and understanding that heating effect is important for understanding climate change, Lack said. The extra heating also can affect cloud formation, air turbulence, winds and even rainfall. The discovery was made possible by state-of-the-art instruments developed by CIRES, NOAA and other scientists, Lack said. The instruments can capture fine-scale details about particles sent airborne by the fire, including their composition, shape, size, color and ability to absorb and reflect sunlight of various wavelengths. “With such well-directed measurements, we can look at the warming effects of soot, the magnifying coating and the brown oils and see a much clearer, yet still smoky picture of the effect of forest fires on climate,” Lack said. CIRES is a cooperative institute of CU-Boulder and NOAA.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-08-evidence-heat-trapping-effects-wildfire-particles.html#jCp


 

 

 

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