Fire Earth

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Archive for July 2nd, 2011

Los Alamos Fire Breaks NM Record

Posted by feww on July 2, 2011

US Wildfires Consume 7.7 Million Acres in 6 Months

Massive Las Conchas Blaze Raging Near Los Alamos Now the Largest in New Mexico History

As of July 1, 2011 at 4:00 am MDT, Las Conchas Blaze had consumed at least 103,993 acres of Conifer and Ponderosa Pines in  Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico.

Las Conchas Fire Map for July 1. Map Created 06/30/2011 11:35:06. Click image to enlarge. Click HERE for PDF version

Fire Summary [details as of July 1, 2011, 4:00 am MDT]

  • National Preparedness Level: 3
  • Southern Area Preparedness Level: 5
  • Name: Las Conchas Fire
  • Date Started: 1 pm on  6/26/2011
  • Location: Approximately 12 miles southwest of Los Alamos off NM 4 at mile marker 35
  • Fuels: Mixed Conifer, Ponderosa Pine. Fuel moisture is extremely low.
  • Cause: Unknown – under investigation [The fire was reportedly ignited by a fallen power line]
  • Size: at least 103,993 acres   [FIRE-EARTH estimate: 112,000 acres]
  • Percent Contained: 5%
  • Residences: [Estimated dozens destroyed or damaged. Recent official data unavailable, as of posting.]
  • Commercial Property : [About a dozen destroyed or damaged. Recent official data unavailable. ]
  • Other structures: [About a dozen destroyed or damaged. Recent official data unavailable.]
  • Humidity:  1%
  • Weather: Critical fire weather conditions associated with strong winds of 25 to 40 mph and low relative humidity below 12 percent will develop across much of Colorado, northern New Mexico, west  Texas and southwestern Kansas. Isolated thunderstorms will form in southeastern Arizona and western New Mexico in the afternoon. Scattered showers and thunderstorms will move across the northern Rockies into the northern Plains and the western Great Lakes. Scattered showers and thunderstorms will develop across Florida and south Texas.
  • Fire Info. The Las Conchas and Donaldson fires in New Mexico were extremely active yesterday. Thousands of people who live near these fires remain evacuated. Fire managers are prepared for another day of critical fire weather conditions in several western states. Firefighters were able to reach containment goals on seven large fires yesterday.

The Dry Lakes Fire, which consumed about 94,000 acres of the Gila National Forest in 2003, was previously New Mexico’s largest recorded blaze.

US Wildfires by State [YTD]

  • Alabama: 120,000 [Source: NIFC]
  • Alaska: 262,621 acres [Source: Alaska Interagency Coordination Center Situation Report]
  • Arizona: At least 1,000,000 acres [Source: InciWeb, others, some data may be missing]
  • Arkansas: 155,000 acres [Source: NIFC]
  • California: 37,000 acres [Source: InciWeb, others]
  • Colorado: 150,000 acres [Source: InciWeb, others]
  • Florida: About 400,000 [Source: fl-dof and others]
  • Georgia: 409,207 acres [Source: Georgia Forestry Commission]
  • Kansas: 112, 000 [Source: NIFC]
  • Kentucky: 30,000 acres  [Source: NIFC]
  • Louisiana: 160,000 acres [Source: NIFC]
  • Minnesota: 90,000 acres [Source: NIFC]
  • Mississippi: 55,000 acres [Source: NIFC]
  • Missouri: 50,000 acres [Source: NIFC]
  • Nebraska: 30,000  [Source: NIFC]
  • New Mexico: 1,000,000 [Source: Various]
  • North Carolina: 220,000 acres  [Source: NIFC]
  • Oregon: 12,000 acres  [Source: NIFC]
  • South Carolina: 75,000 acres  [Source: NIFC]
  • South Dakota: 23,000 acres  [Source: NIFC]
  • Tennessee: 22,000 acres  [Source: NIFC]
  • Texas: 3,215,168 acres [Source: Texas Forest Service]
  • Wisconsin: 25,000 acres  [Source: NIFC]
  • Others: 70,000 [Source: Various]
  • National Total: ~ 7.7 million acres

Texas: The Worst Hit State

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated the entire state of Texas a disaster area with 213 of the states 254 counties declared as primary natural disaster areas following one of the worst droughts ever recorded. Since January 1, 2011, the drought, wildfires and other natural disasters have destroyed at least a third of the  corn, oats, wheat, pasture and forage crops in the Lone Star State.  The back-to-back disasters have also destroyed tens of thousands of cattle, horses and other farm animals, so far this year. Source: 2011 Disaster Calendar – June

A view of the Rock House wildfire seen from the McDonald Observatory in the Davis Mountains. Photo Source: InciWeb

Texas Fires

Since fire season began on Nov. 15, 2010, Texas Forest Service and local firefighters have responded to 13,467 fires that have burned a record-setting 3,292,070 acres. The largest fire burned 314,444 acres in Presidio county in West Texas in April. Six of the state’s largest wildfires occurred in a 19-day period during that month.

Currently 237 of 254 Texas counties have burn bans. More than two-thirds of Texas counties have experienced wildfire this season. More than 2,000 structures, including 554 homes, have been lost. Source: InciWeb

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U.S. average temp up by 0.5 degrees F

Posted by feww on July 2, 2011

The 1981-2010 normals* across the U.S. were warmer than 1971-2000 by 0.5ºF

Map of statewide changes in annual “normal temperatures” (1981 – 2010 compared to 1971 – 2000). Source: NOAA

The average annual maximum and minimum temperature have increased for each state in the continental United States.  “The climate of the 2000s is about 1.5 degree F warmer than the 1970s, so we would expect the updated 30-year normals to be warmer,” said the director of National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

January Min Temp (F): 1981-2010 Minus 1971-2000 – Preliminary result. Source: NOAA. Click image to enlarge.

The 1981-2010 normals have now been released by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

*[Put simply, temperature “normals” are defined as the 30-year average for a given region and are used for comparing recent climate conditions in a historical context.]

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