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Explosive Wildfires Continue Erupting Across the U.S.

Posted by feww on June 29, 2012

Waldo Canyon fire the most destructive in Colorado history: Officials

The Disaster President [Obama] has declared the state of Colorado a major disaster area due to the damage and losses caused by deadly wildfires in  El Paso County [Colorado Springs’ Waldo Canyon fire] and Larimer County [High Park Fire] which began on June 9, 2012, and continuing.

More counties may be designated subject to ongoing damage surveys, FEMA said.

The 5-day old Waldo Canyon fire in Pike National Forest, El Paso County, has now consumed an estimated 20,000 acres, destroying at least 346 homes [preliminary damage report,] forcing tens of thousands of people out of their homes, and threatening 20,085 residences and 160 commercial structures.

Until yesterday, the High Park fire, still burning near Fort Collins north of Denver, was officially the most destructive Colorado fire on record having consumed 257  homes and 87,284 acres of forest and grassland.


Waldo Canyon Fire Map (June 27).


Map of Waldo Canyon Fire Mandatory Evacuation Line – as of June 28, PM.

Pine Ridge Fire

The Pine Ridge Fire is very active wildfire ignited by lightning 10 miles NE of Grand Junction, Mesa County, CO, on Wednesday June 27th, and has since grown to more than 1,500 acres.

  • Fire Behavior: Fire behavior remains extreme and is now threatening Northern Mesa County including the community of De Beque. The Mesa County Sheriff’s department has ordered immediate evacuation of all areas south of S ½ road, west of 45.5 Rd and east of I 70.

Utah Fire Explodes to 20,300 acres in 2 Days

Seeley Fire wildfire, ignited by dry lightning in Huntington Canyon and Gentry Mountain, 15 miles NW of Huntington, Utah, on June 26, has exploded to 20,300 acres threatening an unknown number of structures and forcing evacuations in the area. Road closures are in effect.

    • Growth Potential:  Extreme
    • Terrain Difficulty:  Extreme
    • Wind Conditions: 16-28 mph SW
    • Temperature: 75-77 degrees
    • Humidity: 10-12%

Idaho Wildfire

Charlotte Fire, a blaze ignited in the Charlotte Road area of Mink Creek early afternoon on Thursday, has quickly spread, engulfing about 500 acres in just 5 hours, destroying or damaging at least a dozen homes.

  • Bannock County Commissioners issued a disaster declaration for the County and immediately evacuated the residents in the Gibson Jack, Johnny Creek and Mink Creek area down to Portneuf Road. The evacuations have since expanded toward Pocatello past Juniper Hills Country Club, said a report .
  • An emergency shelter has been set up in the Idaho State University Holt Arena for evacuees of the Gibson Jack and Mink Creek areas that have been affected by wildfire on Thursday, June 28, announced Stephen Chatterton, director of ISU Public Safety.
  • “Multiple fire agencies are battling the grass fire that is burning dangerously close to homes. The fire sparked just after 2:30 p.m., Thursday, near Charlotte Road. Bannock County is handling evacuations,” said a report.

Montana Wildfires:

A dozen wildfires in Montana have destroyed more than 100 structures and forced up to a 1,000 people to flee their homes.

Dahl Fire. Fueled by dead and dying timber, high temperatures, low relative humidities and gusty winds, the Dahl Fire in Musselshell County, Montana, has grown to an estimated 20,000 acres and is currently uncontained.

  • Montana Governor has signed an emergency declaration for Musselshell, Rosebud, Custer, Treasure, Yellowstone and Big Horn Counties and the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.
  • An unknown number of residents have been evacuated.
  • Road closures are in effect.
  • A second fire in Musselshell County has been reported and located.

Ash Creek Complex Fire. The Ash Creek Complex fire, burning 10 miles east of Lame Deer in Custer National Forest, has exploded to 110,700 acres since it began Monday June 25th, 2012.

Utah Wildfires

  • The Wood Hollow Fire, a blaze about 1 mile south of Fountain Green in Utah State Division of Forestry Fire & State Lands has now grown to 46,190 acres, claiming at least one life and destroying a reported 56 structures  and scores of farm animals, mostly sheep.
    • The communities of Indian Ridge, Elk Ridge, Big Hollow, and Oaker Hills communities are under mandatory evacuation.
    • About 2,000 have been evacuated from surrounding communities.

Other fires are listed at Destructive Wildfire Activity Intensifies in Colorado (Posted on June 28, 2012) and the previous posts.

Some 4 dozen active wildfires are currently burning across a dozen states:  Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Idaho, South Dakota, Arizona, Alaska, Nevada, California and Hawaii.

U.S. Weather Hazards


US Weather Hazards Map, June 29, 2012Update

Excessive Heat Warnings: Excessive Heat Warnings are currently in effect in parts of at least 8 states.

Heat wave. The core of the heat wave currently broiling the central U.S. could shift to the east late this weekend, however critical wildfire conditions and debilitating heat will continue into next week, NOAA forecast.

Fire Weather. Critical Fire Weather conditions prevail in parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Red Flag Warnings. Red Flag Warnings are in effect for parts of Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming,  Colorado, Indiana and Kentucky, NWS said.

Heat Advisories and Excessive Heat Warnings are in effect until Saturday evening in many areas and record high temperatures are expected to continue into and through the weekend. Excessive Heat Warnings cover the eastern half of Kansas, western Missouri and parts of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. Heat Advisories cover parts of western Kansas, all of Oklahoma but the Panhandle, southern and eastern Iowa, northern and eastern Missouri, southern Wisconsin, most of Illinois, west-central and northeast Arkansas, the western half of Tennessee, northern Mississippi and all but the southern third of Alabama.

Record Heat. SE Colorado and SW Kansas locations have set numerous high temperature records in the recent days:

  • Dodge City, KS – 111 degrees Wed. – the all-time record for the city since record keeping began in 1874; also broke high for the day by 4 degrees (107 degrees in 1980).
  • Garden City, KS – 109 degrees broke old record of 106 set in 1979
  • Medicine Lodge, KS – record 109 degrees broke old record of 107 set in 1980
  • Colorado Springs, CO – broke all-time maximum temperature record Tuesday, hitting 101, tied 101 on Wed.
  • Pueblo, CO – record high 106 degrees reached Tue, hit 106 again Wed; Pueblo airport recorded 105 degrees or higher for six consecutive days .
  • Source: NWS

U.S. River Conditions

Some 24 locations are currently under flood conditions, with 7  river gauge sites at Major Flood level, 3 at Moderate Flood and 14 at Minor Flood; 22 sites were Near Flood, Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service reported.

U.S. Drought

The drought in the U.S. has intensified since last week  with 72.01 of the lower 48 in D0-D4 (Abnormally Dry to Exceptional Drought) conditions.

  • No reported change in Hawaii since last week, with 78.89 of the state in D0-D4 conditions.
  • Alaska has reported an increase in dry conditions since last week, climbing from 18.35% to 42.00% in D0.


Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

Arizona Drought. Moderate to Severe Drought Conditions (D1-D3) currently prevail throughout the state of Arizona.

Colorado Drought. The entire state of Colorado is currently experiencing Moderate to Severe Drought Conditions (D1-D3).

Arkansas Drought. Moderate to Severe Drought Conditions (D1-D3) reported in 98.55% of Arkansas, with the entire states experiencing abnormally dry conditions.

Illinois.  The entire state of Illinois reporting Abnormally Dry to  Extreme Drought Conditions (D0 – D3).

Kentucky. Abnormally Dry to Extreme Drought Conditions (D0 – D3) reported in 96.59% of Kentucky.

Georgia.   Abnormally Dry to Exceptional Drought Conditions (D0 – D4) reported in 86.09% of Georgia.

Indiana Drought. Drought conditions for Indiana have deteriorated during the past week.  Severe to extreme drought conditions cover two thirds of the state. Abnormally dry conditions cover 99.86% of the state.


Indiana Drought Map  – released June 28, 2012.

  • At least 83 counties reporting active burn bans, as of posting.
  • Excessive Heat Warnings are in effect throughout half of the state.

Kansas Drought. Drought has returned to Kansas with 100.00% of the state reporting abnormally dry or drought conditions (D0 0D4).

  • Excessive Heat Warnings are in effect throughout about two-thirds of the state.

Nevada.  The entire state of Nevada reporting Abnormally Dry to Extreme Drought Conditions (D0 – D3).

New Mexico.  D0 – D3 Drought Conditions reported throughout New Mexico.

Oklahoma D0 – D3 Drought Conditions reported in 99.68% of Oklahoma.

South Carolina.  Abnormally Dry to Exceptional Drought Conditions (D0 – D4) prevail in 86.34% of S. C.

Tennessee. D0 – D3 Drought Conditions reported in 96.03% of Tennessee.

Texas.  Abnormally Dry to Extreme Drought Conditions (D0 – D3) prevail in 95.92% of Texas.

Utah.  D0 – D3 Drought Conditions prevail throughout Utah.

Wyoming. D0 – D3 Drought Conditions exist in 93.50% of Wyoming.

Missouri Drought.  Severe Drought conditions persist in Missouri and the drought is likely to worsen, said NWS.

  • Currently 98.70% of the state is reporting drought conditions.
  • Excessive Heat Warnings are in effect in about 40% of the state, as of posting

Percent of Normal Precipitation – Last 7 days

Air Quality


NESDIS Map of Analyzed Fires from Satellite Data – June 29, 2012 – Time: See inset. 


Current Hazard Mapping System Fire and Smoke Analysis – NOAA/NESDIS – June 29, 2012 – Time: See inset.

Other Global Disasters/ Significant Events

  • Assam, India. Floods of epic proportion caused by extreme monsoon rainfall have left at least 30 people dead, many injured and about a million displaced in the Indian state of Assam, reports said.
  • Bangladesh.  Death toll in Bangladesh flooding and landslides has climbed to at least 112, injured hundreds of others, with more than a quarter of a million people displaced.
    • Widespread damage to crops, farmland, homes and business reported throughout affected areas.

Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background

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