Where Is The Smoke Coming From?


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, Nevada, Oregon, and California.

Well, how do we know?

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

The two newer fires, the "Bud Love" and "Deadline" fires were started a couple of days ago, most likely by lightning.

There is one new large fire just outside of our forecast area, the "Little Box Elder" fire just south of Douglas, WY. It is producing smoke locally, but the winds are from the Northwest in that area, taking most of the smoke away from central Wyoming.

The broad, westerly flow aloft is bringing smoke from fires in the Western US over Wyoming...and there are a lot of fires producing a lot of smoke! The map below plots the large incidents across the United States:


Large Incidents Across the United States (NIFC)
Source: National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC)



Let's take a look at the satellite imagery from Saturday:



The above image shows the Visible Satellite Image from Saturday just before sunset. The visible large smoke plumes are circled in red. (See the national fire map above for the names of these fires)

The inset on the bottom right shows the Water Vapor Image.  The orange shades depict where the satellite is able to detect very dry air. This dry air energizes existing fires and may reveal previously undetected fires that have been smoldering in wilderness.


Morning Smoke on Satellite 12 August 2012


The above image shows the Visible Satellite Image from this morning. The smoke is more diffuse and high in the atmosphere over Wyoming, other places are not so lucky, and you can see that some smoke has settled in valleys in Idaho. The fire activity slows overnight, but the very dry air kept many fires active with the new smoke settling in the valleys. The smoke high in the atmosphere is most likely from the plumes that were sent up yesterday.

Westerly flow will continue to bring smoke into the area for the next couple of days. The dry air seen on satellite will probably keep these fires stoked today and tomorrow. A pattern change mid week will shift flow to the North and send much cooler, wetter, fall-like air our way for a couple of days.

Be sure to Like our page on Facebook for more information on the smoke and your weather, and to post your own pictures of the smoke.

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



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