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Posts Tagged ‘Little Sand Fire’

Destructive Wildfire Activity Intensifies in Colorado

Posted by feww on June 28, 2012

Tens of thousands of evacuees crowding emergency shelters; hundreds of Colorado homes destroyed  

Waldo Canyon Fire dubbed ‘a monster’ by local fire chief grew nearly 300 percent overnight, consuming at least 18,500 acres, and destroying an estimated 500 homes.

  • The blaze has destroyed many homes on the edges of Colorado Springs prompting more evacuations on Wednesday.
  • As many as 50,000 people have fled their homes, so far, though the authorities have not yet revealed the exact number of the displaced, or the number of homes destroyed by the blaze.
  • The blaze has burned about 12 acres along the southwest boundary of the Air Force Academy campus.
  • The blaze, currently about 5% contained, is expected to continue growing:
    • Size: 18,500 acres [Reported by JIC at 11:57UTC on Thursday, June 28, 2012]
    • Structures threatened: 20,085 residences and 160 commercial structures
    • Growth Potential: Extreme
    • Terrain Difficulty: Extreme
    • Wind Conditions: 12 mph SW
    • Temperature: 93 degrees
    • Humidity: 8%

Evacuations and Closures

Currently on mandatory evacuation:  

  • Cascade, Chipita Park, Green Mountain Falls, Crystola
  • City of Colorado Springs
    • All areas north of Garden of the Gods Rd. between I-25 to the east all the way to the western City limits and north to the Air Force Academy.
  • Air Force Academy
    • Evacuated areas include all housing areas on the base except the airfield.
  • US 24
    • Closed between Cave of the Winds and El Paso/Teller County line.
  • Pike National Forest
  • Order 12-08 closes the Pike National Forest in the area of the Waldo Canyon Fire as shown on map of order.

Currently on Voluntary Evacuation:

  • Crystal Park
  • Manitou Springs

The fire is one of ten major wildfires burning in Colorado, as of posting.


Waldo Canyon Fire Map (June 27).

Other Significant Fires in Colorado

  • High Park Fire, Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests / Pawnee National Grassland, about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, 87,284 acres, 75% contained.
    • At least 257 homes have been lost and the toll is expected to grow as assessments continue.
    • Several thousand residents currently remain under mandatory evacuation orders.
  • The Little Sand Fire, located 13 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs, 22,440 acres consumed, 31% contained.
  • Weber Fire, San Juan National Forest, 6 miles south of Mancos, CO, has consumed 9,155 acres, 30% contained.
    • Evacuations are in place, number of evacuees NOT reported by Montezuma County Sheriff.
  • Pine Ridge Fire. “The lightning-ignited Pine Ridge Fire was reported June 27 about 10 miles northeast of Grand Junction above the Book Cliffs. It has grown rapidly and is currently estimated at 500 acres. Seven structures are threatened.” Inciweb reported.

At least 3 dozen active wildfires are currently burning hundreds of thousands of acres in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, California and Virginia.

Montana Wildfires – State of Emergency Declared

Dahl Fire Wildfire. Montana Governor has signed an emergency declaration for Musselshell, Rosebud, Custer, Treasure, Yellowstone and Big Horn Counties and the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. Earlier this week, Gov Schweitzer signed another emergency proclamation for Lewis & Clark, Broadwater, Jefferson and Madison Counties.

  • Dahl, Hawk Creek, and Ash Creek Fires.The Dahl Fire in Musselshell County was reported on Tuesday, June 26th and has since exploded to 18,751 acres.
    • The massive blaze is fueled by high temperatures, low relative humidities and gusty winds, with ZERO containment.
  • Pony fire and at least 2 other fires, Antelope Lane fire and Corral fire, are burning in Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, threatening numerous structures.
    • The town of Mammoth and South Boulder north to the Indiana University Geology Field Station are under mandatory evacuation, fire authorities reported.

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.
    • The entire town of Fairview (pop: 1,200) has been evacuated.
    • About 2,000 others have been evacuated from surrounding communities.
  • Church Camp Fire, located 22 miles S. of Duchesne, has grown to 4,000 acres, destroying 12 homes.
    • Mandatory evacuation ordered by Duchesne County authorities for the Argyle Canyon Road, east of State Road 191 to Gardner Canyon and 2 miles north and 2 miles south of Argyle Canyon Road.
    • Fire Behavior:  Extreme fire behavior, crowning, torching, spotting. Short crown runs in dense timber.
    • Containment: ZERO percent.
    • Growth Potential:  Extreme
  • Wyoming Wildfires.The Fontenelle Fire,  a wildfire burning in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Lincoln and Sublette County, Wyoming, about 33-miles northwest of the community of LaBarge was first reported around 4:30pm on Sunday, June 24.
    • The fire has grown nearly 9  folds from about 2,000 to 17,000 acres in 24 hours.
    • The blaze has forced several road closures and evacuations in the area.

Record heat continues in southern Plains

Excessive Heat Warnings

  • Excessive Heat Warning and Dust Storm Warning are in effect in Arizona, as of posting.
  • Excessive Heat Warnings are in effect in parts of Kansas, Oklahoma,  Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.

Heat Advisories

Heat Advisories are in effect until 10 p.m. CDT today, expanding dangerous heat to the north and east. Record high temperatures are impacting parts of 13 states today including South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, NWS reported.

Record High Temperatures

Record high temperatures were reported at 92 locations in 10 central-U.S. states, NOAA/NCDC said.

  • Colorado reported 18 record high temperature, with the highest at 110 degrees at John Martin Dam, breaking the old record set in 1980 by 4 degrees.
  • Kansas reported 13 record highs, with the highest record of 112 degrees at Healy (Lane Co.), topping the old record set in 1971 by 4 degrees.
  • Other record highs and ties were recorded in Missouri (4 record highs), Nebraska (3 ), Wyoming (14), Arkansas (10), Oklahoma (5 ), Alabama (2), Tennessee (2), Texas (21).

Air Quality Alerts

Air Quality Alerts are in effect for parts of six states: Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.


NESDIS Map of Analyzed Fires from Satellite Data


Current Hazard Mapping System Fire and Smoke Analysis – NOAA/NESDIS

Flooding in the U.S.

Some 24 locations nationally were under flood conditions this morning. Seven river gauge sites were at Major Flood level, three at Moderate Flood and 14 at Minor Flood; 22 sites were Near Flood,  NOAA’s 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

Other Global Disasters/ Significant Events

  • Drought Impact on US Corn Crop. USDA has rated only 56 percent of the U.S. corn crop as good/excellent, the lowest rating for the category in quarter of a century.
  • Flooding in Florida. Scores of homes and dozens of road were left completely submerged under 2 feet of water, with low-lying areas experiencing up to 4 feet,  before Tropical Depression DEBBY finally left Florida, moving into the Atlantic.
  • Bangladesh.  Intense monsoon rains have triggered severe flooding and landslide, killing more than 100 people, washing away at least 1,000 homes and stranding about a quarter a million people.
    • Parts of the country received more than 18 inches of rain in under 24 hours.
  • Ireland.   Severe flooding in County Cork and Northern Ireland, caused by heavy overnight rains, has led to severe flooding, with Clonakilty and Douglas being the worst hit areas, said a report.
    • “There is no access in or out of Clonakilty, while Douglas village was under a meter of water. Parts of the city were evacuated and hundreds of ESB customers are still without power as a result.”
    • “Northern Ireland also experienced heavy rain. Homes in Belfast were flooded and motorists were forced to abandon their cars.”
    • Many homes have been evacuated in Ballyvolane, with flooding also reported in counties Sligo and Tipperary.
    • Many homes and businesses have been severely damaged by floodwater.
    • Met Éireann said it has been the wettest month of June on record in the Republic of Ireland.

Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background

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TS DEBBY: Florida Declares State of Emergency

Posted by feww on June 25, 2012

More flooding and tornadoes could strike Florida, as DEBBY hovers off the Gulf Coast

Florida Governor declared statewide emergency stating that “the broad impact of Tropical Storm Debby” could affect “virtually every county in Florida.”

As of Monday, DEBBY had forced Gulf of Mexico oil and gas operators to shut down about half of oil and more than a third of natural gas production.

  • The storm is forecast to dump at least a foot of rain in the coastal parts of the state, with some areas receiving as much as 25 inches, the hurricane center said.
  • Debby is also forecast to drench southern areas of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.
  • Tornadoes spawned by DEBBY have killed at least one person and injured two others, destroying or damaging two dozen homes in Highlands County, Fl.


TS DEBBY: Tropical Storm Force Wind Speed Probability.

Other Global Disasters, Significant Events

  • Colorado.  The state of Colorado is becoming a raging inferno due to record heat which is causing the worst fire weather conditions in living memory.
    • Record heat is forecast for southern Plains this week, with heat advisories issued for Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
    • The temperature at Denver International airport reached a record 102 degrees (ºF) on Sunday, June 24, breaking  the old record of 100 degrees set in 2007,  NWS office in Boulder reported.
    • The tinder-dry conditions are contributing to at least in dozen wildfires burning in Colorado today including
      • Waldo Canyon Fire, west of Colorado Springs – 2,800 homes are in immediate danger; 11,000 residents have evacuated 4,000 homes; about 3,500 acres burned; ZERO containment.
      • High Park Fire west of Fort Collins – the second-largest and the most destructive blaze ever recorded in the state has destroyed at least 248 homes; burned 83,205 acres; up to 5,000 people remain evacuated; 45 percent contained.
      • Little Sand Fire near Pagosa Springs, Weber Fire in Montezuma County, State Line Fire  southeast of Durango, Treasure Fire near Leadville, Trout Creek Fire near Rainbow Falls in Douglas County, Woodland Heights Fire near Estes Park southwest of the High Park Fire, and Elbert Fire have so far consumed about 30,000 acres.
      • Wood Hollow fire. The blaze about 1 mile south of Fountain Green in Utah State Division of Forestry Fire & State Lands has exploded to about 40,000 acres destroying numerous structures and scores of farm animals, mostly sheep.
        • Evacuations: Up to 2,000 people have been evacuated. Indian Ridge, Elk Ridge, Big Hollow, and Oaker Hills communities are under mandatory evacuation.
        • Closures: Highway 89 closure is in effect.
        • Weather: “The big worry now is the weather. Everything that can be done is being done,” Gov Herbert said in a televised conference.


Wood Hollow Fire. Photo credit: Utah State Division of Forestry Fire & State Lands


US Weather Hazards Map, June 26, 2012.

  • Meantime, Colorado legislators have asked USDA to open up additional land for emergency livestock grazing as farmers, ranchers battle the severe drought affecting the state, a report said.
    • The entire state of Colorado is currently experiencing abnormally dry or drought conditions.


Colorado Drought Map – June 2012 – US Drought Monitor

  • Vermont.  Crops in the state of Vermont are under attack by armyworms, a report said.
    • “They are definitely eating, that is what it looks like,” said Heather Darby an agronomist with the University of Vermont Extension.
    • “We get that first call from a farmer who says I don’t know where my corn went. Can you come out and look? And we come out and look around and you can see the worms essentially so bad the ground’s moving.”
  • New York.   Armyworms have invaded farm fields throughout Jefferson County, NY,  with a major outbreak of the worms threatening widespread damage to crops, reports said.
    • “This year, it just seems like the moths got a head start on ’em and that’s what’s happened. So we’re starting to get a buildup of these parasitic flies and these fungal diseases now, but it’s a little, you know, too little, too late right now to control what we’ve got going on now,” said an expert with with Cornell Cooperative Extension.
  • Alaska.  The Bear Creek fire which was ignited by lightning about 14 miles south of Clear Airforce Base, AK, on June 23, had grown to about 1,500 acres by Sunday local time. On Monday, the blaze exploded by more than 12 folds, consuming more than 20,000 acres.
    • The fire is aided by strong winds, high temperatures and low humidity, burning in black spruce and hardwoods.
    • At least three other fires are burning within close proximity, fire authorities said.
  • British Columbia, Canada.  Weekend storms forced at least 700 people to flee their homes, while 1,200 others were placed on evacuation alert.
    • “Weeks of rapid snowmelt and wet weather caused river levels to rise in the B.C. Interior, the Kootenay region and the Fraser Valley, and a weekend of heavy rain and violent thunderstorms pushed many rivers and creeks in those areas to the brink,” said a report.
    • Flooding has left at least one man dead, causing widespread devastation in the region with many homes, businesses and public infrastructure destroyed.
    • The municipality of Sicamous declared a local state of emergency on Saturday, a report said.
  • Montana.  Pony Fire in Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, ignited on June 24th, has grown to more than 2,500 acres threatening numerous structures.
    • The town of Mammoth and South Boulder north to the Indiana University Geology Field Station are under mandatory evacuation, Inciweb reported.
    • At least 2 other wildfires, Antelope Lane fire and Corral fire, are burning nearby.

State of the Climate – Global Analysis for May 2012

  • The globally-averaged land surface temperature for May 2012 was the all-time warmest May on record, at 1.21°C (2.18°F) above average
  • The Northern Hemisphere land and ocean average surface temperature for May 2012 was the all-time warmest May on record, at 0.85°C (1.53°F) above average.
  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for May 2012 was 0.66°C (1.19°F) above the 20th century average of 14.8°C (58.6°F). This is the second warmest May since records began in 1880, behind only 2010.


Temperature Anomalies Maps for May 2012 [Source: NCDC/NOAA]

See also: Hottest U.S. Spring on Record

Today’s Record Temperatures

NOAA/NCDC reported 58 high temperature records broken Monday across nine states: Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kentucky. The temperature records included

  • Colorado: 31 records broken, 7 tied; highest temp 110 degrees at La Junta Airport; old record 107 in 1990
  • Kansas: 10 broken, 4 tied; highest temp 114 degrees  northeast of Hill City, old record 108 in 1971
  • Kentucky: tied record 94 degrees at London, KY; old record set in 1988
  • Missouri:  1 tie, 95 degrees at Kirksville, old record set in 1971
  • Nebraska:  4 broken, 1 tied; 105 degrees near Harrisburg in Banner County; old record 98 in 2001
  • Wyoming:  6 broken, 8 tied; highest temp 107 at Gillette; old record 99 in 1988
  • Texas:  3 broken, 2 tied, highest 102 degrees at Victoria tied 102 in 2009
  • Oklahoma: 1 broken, 101 degrees at Ralston in Pawnee County, old record 100 in 1988
  • Arkansas:  3 broken, two tied, highest 101 at Little Rock Forecast office and Little Rock airport; old record 99 and 100 in 1988

Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background

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