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Archive for October 5th, 2009

Sheep Fire and Silence of the Lamb

Posted by feww on October 5, 2009

Fire Chases 4,000 From Their Homes

Sheep fire forced thousands of residents to evacuate the mountaintop town of Wrightwood about 130km (80 miles) east of Los Angeles, according to state officials.

Having blackened 7,500 acres since Saturday, the blaze reached the outskirts of Wrightwood, a scenic resort town of 4,000 in the San Gabriel Mountains.

The blazed has destroyed at least 5 structures, but officials said they they could most probably save the town. The cause of the fire is still unknown/ undisclosed.

The fire containment, as of posting, was 20%.

Sheep fire LATimes
Photo: Smoke rises Saturday evening over the San Bernardino Mountains. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times. Image may be subject to copyright.

Details of Sheep Fire:

  • Incident Type:  Wildfire
  • Cause: Under Investigation
  • Date of Origin:  Saturday October 3, 2009 02:11 PM PCT
  • Location:  Between Lytle Creek & Lone Pine Canyons

Current Situation:

  • Total Personnel: 936
  • Size: 7,500 acres
  • Percent Contained: 20%
  • Fuels Involved: Chaparral and timber
  • Fire Behavior: Extreme fire behavior with rapid rates of spread, fire is fuel, topography, and wind driven
  • Significant Events:  Numerous helitankers and fixed wing air tankers dropped water and retardant on the fire yesterday and back fires were set to protect homes at the eastern edge of Wrightwood. The fire has not crossed Hwy 138 or Hwy 2 at this time.


  • Planned Actions: Crews are constructing direct fireline and numerous engine strike teams are in place for structure protection for the eastern portions of Wrightwood.
  • Growth Potential:  Extreme
  • Terrain Difficulty: Extreme


  • The Forest Service is in unified command with San Bernardino County Fire and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. Resources assigned to the fire are:
    • 24 handcrews,
    • 80 engines,
    • 4 dozers,
    • 7 water tenders,
    • 6 helicopters and
    • 9 airtankers (including the DC-10 and the Martin Mars).


  • All residents of Wrightwood are under a mandatory evacuation. Mandatory evacuations remain for residents in Swarthout and Lone Pine Canyons, Hwy 138 between I-15 and Hess Road, and residents on the east side of Lytle Creek Road including Applewhite Campground and Mountain Lakes Resort. Road Closures: Hwy 2, Hwy 138 between I-15 and Hwy 2, Lone Pine Canyon Road, Lytle Creek Road. Lytle Creek road is open to residents only.

Current Weather

  • Wind Conditions: 19 mph SW
  • Temperature:  45 degrees F
  • Humidity: 45%
  • Source:  InciWeb

Incident Overview [from InciWeb]

The Sheep Fire started near Sheep Canyon Road near Lytle Creek at about 2:11 pm on Saturday October 3, 2009. It burned northeast to Swarthout Canyon Road, then northwest up Lone Pine Canyon. It is currently burning near the top of Lone Pine Canyon near Wrightwood, CA. It has not crossed Hwy 138 at this time. The fire is about 1/4 mile from Hwy 2 and homes in the area. Firefighters are cautiously optimistic at this time about keeping the fire from burning into Wrightwood. Numerous helitankers and fixed wing air tankers dropped water and retardant on the fire yesterday and back fires were set to protect homes at the eastern edge of Wrightwood. Engines are also continuing to do structure protection and hand crews are constructing fire line.

Mandatory evacuations are still in place for all Wrightwood, Swarthout Canyon, Lone Pine Canyon, and areas along Hwy 138 between I-15 and Hess Road. Mandatory evacuations also remain in place for the following areas in Lytle Creek: Applewhite Campground, Applewhite Picnic Area, and areas east of Lytle Creek Road up to and including Mountain Lakes RV Park. Evacuation Centers are located at Eisenhower High School in Rialto and at Victorville Fairgrounds. Small animals can be taken to the Devore Animal Shelter. Large and small animals may be taken to the Victorville Fairgrounds.

Related Links:

Posted in airtankers, Applewhite Campground, fire containment, Lone Pine Canyons, Sheep Fire and Silence of the Lamb, Swarthout, Victorville Fairgrounds | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

TS Grace Heading Towards Ireland

Posted by feww on October 5, 2009

Tropical Storm Grace is Getting Stronger as it Heads Towards Southern Ireland

TS Grace is now slightly stronger,  heading rapidly NE over the NE Atlantic in the Direction of Southern Ireland.

TS Grace vis-l
Tropical Storm Grace – EUMETSAT – Visible Image – Still  Frame – Date and Time as Inset. To update and enlarge, click on image. Source: NOAA/NHC/NWS

Grace WSP
Grace Wind Speed Probabilities.
Still Frame. Click on image to update and enlarge.

Details of Grace

  • Location: At 09:00 UTC center of TS Grace was 43.0 N, 18.0 W about 940km NE of the Azores.
  • Direction: Grace is moving at about 44 KM/HR, and is forecast to continue this motion until making a gradual turn to NNE Monday night and Tuesday, as it slows down.
  • Max Sustained winds: 110 km/h with higher gusts, but expected to weaken in the next 24 hours.
  • Tropical Storm Force winds: 85km from the center
  • Estimated Min Central Pressure: 742mm Hg (989 Mb)
  • Source: NHC

Related Links:

Posted in Atlantic hurricane season, FEWW New Hurricane Scale, grace forecast trajectory, Grace Wind Speed Probabilities, NE Atlantic, Tropical Storm Force winds | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Could Typhoon Melor Drag Parma Back to Philippines?

Posted by feww on October 5, 2009

Typhoon Melor may be heading toward Kanto region, Japan

Barring  a big surprise or last-minute change of heart, typhoon Melor will only briefly enter the Philippines territory late Monday (local time), exiting mostly uneventfully by early Tuesday.

melor ir4-l
Typhoon Melor. MTSAT Unenhanced Still Image. Time and date as inset. To update and enlarge, click on image. The very slow moving storm Parma to the WNW of Melor loitering in NW Luzon and southern tip of Taiwan region could be dragged back to Luzon, as Melor heads NNW towards Japan. Note Melor’s well-defined eye and
its near-perfect symmetry.

Melor rgb-l2
Typhoon Melor. MTSAT RGB Still Image. Time and date as inset. To update and enlarge, click on image. [Remember, Earth is NOT flat. :)]

Melor ir2-l
Typhoon Melor. MTSAT Infra Red Short Wave
– Still Image. Time and date as inset. To update and enlarge, click on image.

For additional images and animation, visit Satellite Imagery Links Page.

Melor is not expected to impact Philippines directly, but it is controlling the movement of typhoon Parma, which is moving west very slowly as it passes over northern Luzon.

The two typhoons  are interacting, somewhat pinwheeling [“Fujiwhara Effect,”] with Melor packing more powerful winds being the driver, as Parma weakens. In fact, it is possible that Melor could drag Parma back on to Luzon, at least temporarily.

Melor spared Guam and Saipan over the weekend, with NWS in Guam reporting gusts of up to 38 mph and little rain as Melor moved north away from the island Saturday night.

The following information is provided by Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA)

TYPHOON 0918 (Melor) Issued at 00:45 UTC, 5 October 2009

Forecast for 05:00 UTC, 5 October 2009

  • Intensity: Very Intense
  • Center position:  N18°30′(18.5°),  E136°20′(136.3°)
  • Direction and speed of movement: WNW 25km/h(14kt)
  • Central pressure: 910hPa
  • Maximum wind speed near the center: 198 km/h
  • Maximum wind gust speed : 288 km/h
  • Area of 50kt (93km/h) winds or more  : 190km (100NM)
  • Area of 30kt (56km/h) winds or more: NE560km, SW390km(210NM)

jma melor track forecast
JMA forecast track for Typhoon Melor. Image may be subject to copyright.

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Posted in melor impact Guam, Melor Impact Saipan, near-perfect symmetry, Parma weakens, Taiwan rainfall, well-defined eye | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »