April 12, 2014

Weekend Edition: Spring fire season is on in Oklahoma and Georgia

In the spring of every year, fire clusters break out in Kansas and Oklahoma and in the US southeast. While some of these can be lightning generated, burning of fields which can get out of control can also be a cause. The USFS Large Incident page has classified fires of over 100 acres in size in forests and over 300 acres of grass fires. These clusters are showing up on satellite imagery. A wide angle view of the southeast shows the fire hotspots over the daytime hours of Saturday in Georgia and Alabama (left) and zoomed in around Atlanta with roads superimposed to make the location of the fires more obvious.

In Oklahoma, the large number of wildfires has narrowed to about a half dozen fire hotspots on MODIS thermal channels. The hazy image is not just smoke, however, as there is an overlaying layer of cirrus cloud. On the right below, the AIRNOW AQI loop is shown and indicates moderate air quality is seen over much of the southeast. The AQI reaches unhealthy for sensitive groups in Nebraska today and that is likely from transported smoke.

Update: April 13, 2014 19:30 EDT

Code Orange (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups) readings were seen on Sunday in South Carolina and in Oregon for a brief period overnight. The South Carolina readings are likely due to the fires burning in the Appalachians in the very west of the State.

In Oklahoma, the large incident fires of sizes ranging from 300-600 acres is raising the Aerosol Optical Depth seen in the AQUA MODIS readings on Sunday (left). On the right below, the areas with moderate AQI for aerosols are aligned along major traffic routes in the state (LA, SF, and Sacramento). People are on the move for Easter week and spring break.

Posted by Ray Hoff at April 12, 2014 6:58 PM
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