Where Is The Smoke Coming From?

The National Weather Service
Building a Weather-Ready Nation

Another smoky morning is upon us as widlfires continue to burn across the region. While there are several fires across the state of Wyoming, the biggest smoke producers are to our west in Idaho and Nevada.

Well, how do we know?

First, let's go over where the local widlfires are:

The two newer fires, the Sheep Park Fire and The Black Butte Fire are east of the Divide, while most of the fires this year have been along and west of the Divide. The Fontenelle has grown by about 200 acres in the past few days due to hot, dry conditions. The Bear Cub Fire in the Absarokas is nearly out with just a little bit of smoke flaring up in the afternoon and evening hours, and the Butte Creek Fire, also in the Absarokas, is still holding at less than 5 acres and is doing a great job burning up some dead, beetle-killed trees.

There are also some fires just outside of our forecast area, most notably, the Ferris Fire northeast of Rawlins; which is approaching 8,800 acres and is 75% contained...still smoking, but not raging enough to produce the amount of widespread smoke we're seeing in the air right now.

Now that we know where the larger local fires are, and how active they are, let's take a look at some satellite imagery used to detect wildfires and smoke plumes on a larger scale.


The above image shows the "Fog Band" of the GOES satellite from last night, clearly showing the hot spots from the fires in the west.  No hot spots are showing up in our state.

Click on the picture to see a full-resolution version.

Click here to see the national fire map.
The above visible satellite loop from the GOES West Satellite shows the smoky sunrise over the region. Note how the smoke is rotating from Northwest to Southeast over the state around the upper level high. There is a weak short wave over Idaho causing clouds to form there, with a few lightning strikes embedded (not shown).

Click on the loop to see a full-resolution version.

High pressure will be over the region for the next couple of days. Another hot, dry, stormy day over Idaho will probably keep these fires stoked today and tomorrow...the stubborn ridge will continue to catch the smoke and send it our way. A short wave trough and associated cold front will move through Idaho on Friday morning, which will keep the smoke production down. The wave then moves through Wyoming on Friday afternoon, increasing the chance of rain and thunderstorms that wil work to remove much of the smoke from the air. 

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Visit Inciweb for more information on the large, National Fire incidents.




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