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Posts Tagged ‘US West’

Ten U.S. States Reporting Major Wildfires

Posted by feww on August 18, 2015

Wildfires Plaguing Western and Southern United States

States of Emergency have been declared in Idaho and Montana due to the destructive wildfires.

At least 80 active large fires are currently burning more than 1.1 million acres across ten States: California (14), Colorado (1), Idaho (14), Louisiana (1), Montana (11), North Carolina (2), Nevada (1), Oregon (11), Texas (5) and Washington (20), reported NIFC.

“Residents in many western states have been evacuated from their homes as hot, dry, and windy conditions have caused several large fires to burn actively. Currently, more than 25,000 people are supporting wildfires, including 41 Incident Management Teams and 2 Area Command Teams.”

Year-to-date statistics [NIFC]

2015 (1/1/15 – 8/17/15) Fires: 40,509 – Acres: 6,969,074 [breaks 11-year record]

Annual average prior 10 years

(2005-2014) Fires: 49,400 – Acres: 4,809,886

[Caution: The stats provided by NIFC have previously proved to be incomplete, erroneous and unreliable. See related blog entries since 2007.]

The Federal government has proclaimed 8 additional Fire Management Assistance Declarations, as follows:

  • Idaho Municipal Fire (FM-5105)
  • Washington Okanogan County Fire Complex (FM-5104)
  • Washington Stevens County Fire Complex (FM-5103)
  • Oregon Canyon Creek Fire Complex (FM-5102)
  • Washington Stickpin Fire (FM-5101)
  • Washington Reach Fire Complex (FM-5100)
  • Idaho Clearwater Lawyer Branch Fire Complex (FM-5099)
  • Washington Nine Mile Fire (FM-5098)

Excessive Heat Warning

An excessive heat warning remains in effect throughout Wednesday for Southern Nevada, Southeastern California and Northwestern Arizona. Expected Temperatures: 109-112 in the Las Vegas Valley, 112-117 in the Colorado River Valley, and 120-125 in Death Valley, reported NWS.

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June 2015 Second Warmest in Contiguous U.S.

Posted by feww on July 14, 2015

June 2015 2nd warmest in contiguous U.S., West saw record warmth, drought worsened in Northwest: NOAA

The June average temperature for the Lower 48 was 22°C (71.4°F), or 1.6°C (2.9°F) above the 20th century average, second only to June 1933 (71.6°F) in the 121-year period of record, reported The National Climatic Data Center .

Above-average temperatures recorded across the West and along the Southeast coast, where 16 states were much warmer than average.

  • California, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Washington recorded their warmest June.
  • Multiple western cities set new June temperature records during an intense heatwave the second half of the month.
  • Boise, Idaho saw the temperature soaring to 43.3C (110°F).

The Alaska statewide average temperature for June was the sixth warmest in 91-years of record keeping at 52.4°F, 3.1°F above average. Homer, Alaska had its warmest June on record. Prolonged warmth and dryness and lack of June snow created ideal wildfire conditions with dozens of large wildfires impacting central and southern areas of the state during June.

“The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI) for the year-to-date was 45 percent above average and the 13th highest value on record. On the national-scale, extremes in warm maximum and minimum temperatures and days with precipitation were much above average,” said NCDC.

  • More than 400 wildfires consumed 1.8 million acres (728,000 hectares), breaking the previous June record of 1.1 million acres (445,000 hectares) charred by 216 fires, said the report.
  • Texas had its wettest year-to-date on record with 61.1mm (24.04 inches), 27.2mm (10.70 inches) above average.
    • Previous record wet January-June record in 1941: 55.2mm (21.72 inches)
    • January-June precipitation total for 2011: Just 14.5mm (5.71 inches), the lowest amount on 121-year record.
  • California: Drought conditions remain dire across California, with 46.7 percent of the state experiencing the worst category of drought (D4, exceptional).

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: National Overview for June 2015, published online July 2015, retrieved on July 13, 2015 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/201506.

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Wildfires Force Hundreds to Flee Homes in Alaska

Posted by feww on June 24, 2015

Residents evacuated from Yukon River community

A lightning-sparked fire grew to more than 700 acres burning close to the Yukon River village of Nulato, prompting evacuations from the Athabascan community of 250 late Monday, said a report.

State Disaster

Gov. Walker declared a state disaster on June 19 in response to damages caused by multiple wild land fires on the Kenai Peninsula, including the Card Street Fire near Sterling.

“As of Friday, the Kenai Peninsula Borough evacuated hundreds of homes and established emergency shelters for residents displaced by the Card Street Fire. While winds have now shifted away from populated areas, the Card Street Fire has claimed more than 7,500 acres and is now burning in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.”

Walker also declared a state disaster in response to widespread damages caused by the Sockeye Fire in Willow and the surrounding region on June 16.

Fire Ban

Extremely dry conditions in the Kenai Peninsula, Municipality of Anchorage and Matanuska-Susitna Borough have prompted Alaska Division of Forestry and the State Forester to prohibit the use of all open fires and activities, said Alaska DONR in a statement.

Alaska Fire Stats

  • Total no. of fires so far this year: >500
  • No. of fires in June: 310 [57 new fires ignited Monday]
  • Currently burning: 239 fires, burning on 320,000 acres
  • No. of Major fires currently active: 10
  • Total no. of structures destroyed or damaged: >100
    • The Sockeye wildfire in Willow has destroyed at least 55 homes (45 other properties have sustained major damage to outbuildings.)
    • The fire has displaced more than 800 people.
  • Largest fire: 34,000-acre Chisana River 2 fire in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve and the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge.

Wildfires burning in 10 states

Wildfires also continue to burn in the states of Arizona, California, Florida, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington, in addition to Alaska.

State of California

Some 1,922 fire crews are trying to control a 17,500-acre Lake Fire in n the Barton Flats area and in the northern portion of the San Gorgonio Wilderness (San Bernardino National Forest) east of Los Angeles.

Two other fires, near San Luis Obispo, and the other outside Fresno, have destroyed more than two dozen structures.

State of Oregon

In Oregon, Gov. Brown has  declared drought emergencies for 20 out of Oregon’s 36 counties so far, said spokesman for the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.

Large forest fire are burning in Siskiyou National Forest and Whitman National Forest.

State of Washington

Gov. Inslee declared a statewide drought emergency for Washington in May due to the snowpack being at historic lows, dwindling rivers and irrigation districts being forced to cut off water to farmers.

 

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Drought Destroys Crops in CA, OR, ID, UT, AZ and NV

Posted by feww on April 9, 2015

Drought Crop Disasters Declared in Six States

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued 47 additional county-level drought disaster designations across six states—California, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona and Nevada—due to damages and losses caused by the worsening drought.

The drought disaster destinations are for the following areas:

California. Del Norte, Humboldt, Modoc and Siskiyou [multiple crop disaster designations, “MCDD”] counties.
Oregon. Baker [MCDD], Curry , Deschutes, Douglas, Grant, Harney, Jackson Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Lane and Malheur [MCDD] counties.
Idaho. Canyon, Cassia, Owyhee, Payetteand, and Washington counties.
Utah. Adams, Box Elder, Gem, Payette, Tooele and Washington counties.
Arizona.  Gila, La Paz, Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, Yavapai and Yuma counties.
Nevada. Elko, Eureka, Humboldt [MCDD,] Lander, Nye, White Pine and Washoe counties.

Crop Disasters 2015

Beginning January 7, 2015 USDA has declared crop disasters in at least 995 counties across 20  states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

Majority of the 2015 crop disaster designations so far are due to drought.

Crop Disasters 2014

In 2014, USDA declared crop disasters in at least 2,904 counties across 44 states. Most of the designations were due to drought.

Those states were:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan. Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. [FIRE-EARTH has documented all of the above listings. See blog content.]

Notes:
i. USDA trigger point for a countywide disaster declaration is 30 percent crop loss on at least one crop.

ii. The counties designated as agricultural disaster areas, as listed above, include both primary and contiguous disaster areas.

iii. Some counties may have been designated as crop disaster areas more than once due to multiple disasters.

iv. The U.S. has a total of 3,143 counties and county-equivalents.

v. The disaster designations posted above were approved by USDA on April 8, 2015 in five separate declarations.

U.S. Drought Continues Spreading

drought population  impact
U.S. Drought Population Data. Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

Drought Severity
D0 – Abnormally Dry || D1 Drought – Moderate || D2 Drought – Severe || D3 Drought – Extreme || D4 Drought – Exceptional

California plagued by fourth consecutive year of drought

With temperatures averaging more than 10°F above normal for the week, snowpacks continued to dwindle; as of April 1, the state’s total snowpack stood at a meager 5 percent of average. Indicative of the virtually non-existent snowpack, streamflows have dropped into the 5th percentile or lower over much of California. In addition, the 2014-15 Water Year has ended on an abysmal note, with precipitation over the past 30 days totaling a mere 10 percent of normal or less from Redding southward.  Continued dryness resulted in an expansion of Exceptional Drought (D4) in northwest California. [Source: U.S. Drought Monitor]

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Drought Crop Disaster Declared in Utah

Posted by feww on April 3, 2015

8 Counties in Utah declared drought crop disaster areas 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated eight additional counties in Utah as crop disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by drought.

The latest crop disaster areas include Davis, Box Elder, Cache, Morgan, Rich, Salt Lake, Tooele and Weber counties.

Crop Disasters 2015

Beginning January 7, 2015 USDA has declared crop disasters in at least 948 counties across 20  states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

Majority of the 2015 crop disaster designations so far are due to drought.

Crop Disasters 2014

In 2014, USDA declared crop disasters in at least 2,904 counties across 44 states. Most of the designations were due to drought.

Those states were:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan. Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. [FIRE-EARTH has documented all of the above listings. See blog content.]

Notes:
i. USDA trigger point for a countywide disaster declaration is 30 percent crop loss on at least one crop.

ii. The counties designated as agricultural disaster areas, as listed above, include both primary and contiguous disaster areas.

iii. Some counties may have been designated as crop disaster areas more than once due to multiple disasters.

iv. The U.S. has a total of 3,143 counties and county-equivalents.

v. The disaster designations posted above were approved by USDA on April 1, 2015.

U.S. Drought Spreads

drought comparison map - population data
U.S. Drought Population Data. Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

Drought Severity
D0 – Abnormally Dry || D1 Drought – Moderate || D2 Drought – Severe || D3 Drought – Extreme || D4 Drought – Exceptional

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