January 18, 2014

Weekend Edition: As drought is declared officially in California, fires continue

Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown of California officially declared a drought emergency bringing addition regulatory tools into play, like water rationing. The fire in Southern California near Glendora appears to have been effectively beaten down today as the Code Red Santa Ana winds have relaxed. The temperature there (below left) is a beautiful 79F but the winds are 4mph gusting to 9mph, a significant improvement over the past week. The situation in the San Joaquin Valley, however, is not good as a large fire has appeared in the Kings Canyon area of the Sierras east of Porterville. The National Park Service fire reporting shows nothing yet. One year ago,we were doing an air quality study in DISCOVER at that location and such a fire would have made life very interesting. The fire crews in Porterville must be busy.

The fire has raised a code orange reading in the San Joaquin Valley (especially when added to the existing aerosol load). In Visalia the PM2.5 levels reached 70 µg m-3.

In the rest of the US, fires are widespread in the US southeast as agricultural burning starts up. In Kansas, multiple streamers of dust can be seen rolling across Kansas. The PM10 readings (note PM10, not PM2.5) reached 130 µg m-3 today in the dust. Traffic pileups in Kansas have left 3 people dead.

Sources: HMS and AIRNOWTECH.

Finally, Australia is suffering from major fire blowups and this remarkable photo was forwarded by Jason Sharples on the PyroCb listserve today.

Posted by Ray Hoff at January 18, 2014 8:32 PM
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