It has gotten difficult to follow all the fires in the West. On the pyroCb listserve, discussion this week went to naming conventions and tracking all the fires that may be generating upper tropospheric smoke. Mike Fromm of NRL has compiled a spreadsheet of all the fires this year by name and size. Impressive body of work. On the left panel below, I have superimposed the names of the major incidents from the Inciweb site. The Idaho fires (Pony, Elk, McCan, Beaver Creek, etc.) add up to several hundred thousand acres which have burned. Pony is now getting under control but other fires in the area are still not 50% contained. The Beaver Creek fire complex has threatened Sun Valley and some very expensive homes are endangered. Over 1600 homes have been evacuated in the area. On the right panel, smoke from Idaho covers most of Montana yesterday in the MODIS Terra RGB image.
On Saturday, the smoke from Idaho has continued to progress southward in the lee of the Rocky Mountains. Smoke is causing "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups" readings in northern Colorado (and of course in Idaho). The smoke has gone as far south as Texas and eastward into Minnesota and Wisconsin.
New fires in California have shown up. The American River fire west of Tahoe has now reached 5000 acres and has an impressive plume blowing northward in yesterday's imagery. In the right image, today's MODIS AQUA shows the plume has reduced in intensity by the impact on AIRNOW sites is worse from draining smoke overnight. Rocklin and Auburn, CA, are now in the Unhealthy ranges today. In the Northwest corner of California and southwest corner of Oregon, fires in the Klamath Falls area have many of the valleys covered in smoke.
Today, we have two impressive AOD graphs. Left is MODIS AQUA and right is Suominet VIIRS. We have been working with NOAA to understand the limitations placed on the Suominet VIIRS AOD and it appears that more stringent quality assurance is being applied to the VIIRS product.