Amazon Fire Leading to Extreme Levels of PM in Air; Sheridan Fire Being Used for Good

The NRL/Monterey Aerosol image above shows that a massive fire in the Amazon Rainforest is leading to an extreme level of Smoke Concentration levels in South America. The smoke concentration in South America exceeds 512 ug /m^3 (Figure 1).

The Nasa Worldview image above shows the smoke coming from the fire, it looks much paler and grey than the clouds and smoke around it (Figure 2). Below the high AOD concentration matches the same places that the smoke are coming from (Figure 3). 

The HMS image below shows the Sheridan Fire that is taking place in Prescott National Forest in Arizona on August 21st (Figure 4). The fire had been started by lightning, but INCIWEB reports that the fire is being used to, “to reduce fuels and improve resource conditions in the area.”

Sahara Sand almost Halfway Across Atlantic Ocean; Sulfate Concentration Increasing on the Eastern US

The Nasa Worldview image above shows sand and dust have been detected going over the Atlantic Ocean from the Sahara Desert (Figure 1). The sand is almost halfway across the Atlantic Ocean on August 20th (Figure 1) as compared to August 19th (Figure 2).

The HMS image above shows that the AOD concentration in the Eastern United States is at a higher level (0.4 to 1.0 ppm) than usual (0.0 to 0.4 ppm) (Figure 3). This may be caused due to a high sulfate sulfur concentration in the Eastern United States as shown in by the NRL/Monterey Aerosol Page (Figure 4).

Swan Lake Fire in Alaska; Unhealthy PM 2.5 Levels in Anchorage

The HMS image above shows smoke that was released from the Swan Lake Fire (Figure 1).  INCIWEB reports that the fire will be contained by Saturday, August 31st. The fire had been started by lightning in a remote area of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Wilderness. Most highways in the region have been reopened. In good news, the fire has been reported to have some ecological benefits for the region as unhealthier trees have been burned down and younger plants have started to sprout.

The AirNow Tech graph above shows that the PM 2.5 levels in Anchorage reached into the 108-130 ppm range (Figure 2).  This constitutes a Code Red (Unhealthy) level of PM 2.5 in the area (Figure 2).

Smoke from Canada blown Westward; Houston Texas had Unhealthy Ozone Levels

The HMS image above shows that smoke from Canada has been blown westward from the Alberta/British Columbia provinces to the Pacific Ocean (Figure 1). The areas of moderate smoke in Alberta coincide with the fire hotspots provided by Natural Resources Canada (Figure 2).

The AirNow map shows Code Red (Unhealthy) ozone levels in Houston Texas (Figure 3). An ozone air quality monitor in Deer Park Houston shows 8-hr ozone averages rising into the 100-107 ppb range. This AirNow-Tech data corresponds to the Code Red AQI (Figure 4).


Code Orange Ozone East of Phoenix; Smoke in Alberta Decreases

The AirNow map shows Code Orange (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups) levels of ozone east of Phoenix (Figure 1).  An ozone air quality monitor east of Phoenix in Gila County shows 8-hr ozone averages rising into the 71-85 ppb range.  This AirNow-Tech data corresponds to the Code Orange AQI (Figure 2).

The HMS image below shows decreased concentrations of smoke in Alberta on Aug 14 (Figure 3) compared to Aug  13 (Figure 4).

This coincides with the decrease in fire hotspots from Aug 13 (Figure 5) to Aug 14 (Figure 6).  FireM3 Hotspots data is provided by the governmental organization Natural Resources Canada.


Unhealthy Ozone Levels East of Los Angeles; Heavy Smoke in Alberta

This map from AirNow shows Unhealthy levels of ozone east of Los Angeles near San Bernadino and Riverside County (Figure 1).  The lower limit for the Unhealthy ozone levels is 85 ppb for the 8-hr avg.  Ground level ozone detectors in both of these counties show spikes in ozone levels above this lower limit (Figures 2 and 3).  The graphs are obtained from AirNow-Tech.  Figure 2 shows detectors in Riverside County and Figure 3 shows detectors in San Bernadino County.

The HMS map shows heavy smoke in the northern half of Alberta with data recovered from the GOES-East Satellite.  Natural Resources Canada shows 7 fire hot spots all across Alberta, several of which are in the northern half.

Low Smoke Across the CONUS; Light Smoke Across Alaska/Northern Canada; Heavy Smoke is Southeastern Alaska.

NOAA’s HMS shows no significant smoke over the contiguous United States.  This is a positive development compared to the previous week.  Light smoke is seen all across Alaska and the northern half of Canada stopping at Quebec (Figure 1).

A close up shows areas of heavy smoke in southeastern Alaska (Figure 2).  Alaska Wildland Fire Information reports several fires in the regions that correspond to those shown on the HMS map.  The heavy smoke on the left is south of Anchorage near the Swan Lake, Quill and Upper Trail Lake fires.  The heavy smoke on the right is west of Glenallen near the three Tokaina Creek fires.

William’s Flat Smoke Dissipates Over the Weekend; Smoke Levels Grow in Alaska Near the Yukon.

August 10:

August 11:

Figure 1 and 2 from NOAA’s HMS show smoke levels caused by the William’s Flat Fire on August 10 and 11 respectively.  Notice how on Aug 10, smoke levels are moderate near the Colville reservation and only light in surrounding areas.  By August 11, smoke levels are no longer visible to the NOAA hazard map.  This is a large improvement from heavy smoke levels seen last week.  INCIWEB reports that although the fire is now 45% contained, it is still 44,670 acres large.  Despite improvements, authorities are still hard at work and local caution levels are still in effect.  Specifically, dry weather in the region still threatens the stability of the fire.

Figure 3 and 4 are also hazard maps provided by NOAA’s HMS and show smoke levels for Aug 10 and Aug 11 respectively.

Aug 10

Aug 11

Notice the development of heavy and moderate smoke levels in northern Alaska on August 11.  INCIWEB provided an update on Aug 11 for a fire in this area called the Chalkyitsik/Cornucopia Complex fire near Alaska’s border with the Yukon.  The complex was caused by lightening on July 9 and has an impressive size of 501,629 acres.  Fire authorities are making steady progress in containment but the burning of fuels, such as black spruce, are producing visible smoke.  The fire still poses a threat to the nearby Gwich’in villages of Chalkyitsik, Beaver, and Venetie.  Cloud cover makes satellite imaging of this area difficult to analyze.  

William’s Flat Fire Growing; Moderate Smoke heading for the East Coast

A general view of the Hazard Mapping System Smoke and Fire Product map shows light to moderate smoke levels across Alaska, Canada, and the northern CONUS (Figure 1).  Today’s map does not show the heavy smoke density seen yesterday in Alaska and British Columbia.  Most noticeable is the heavy smoke that is still emanating from the William’s Flat Fire in the western part of Washington State.  This high density smoke has traveled east into Idaho and the northwest of Montana .  It is also spreading north into the southern parts of British Columbia and Alberta.  Even northern Wyoming is affected (Figure 2).  INCIWEB reports that this fire has grown to 40,000 acres and 25% of the perimeter is contained.  1,059 personnel are reportedly working to quell the fire.  A satellite image from GOES-East obtained from NOAA’s Aerosol Watch shows the intensity of the growing smoke plume and how it extends into the surrounding areas (Figure 3).  The smoke is circled in red and is grayer than the nearby white clouds.  

Light and moderate smoke stretches across the north-central parts of the CONUS and the south-central parts of Canada.  A comparison to yesterday’s hazard map indicates a south-easterly flow of moderate smoke levels.  This trend suggests that these smoke levels may soon reach the east coast and affect air quality in the Atlantic region (Figure 4 and 5).

Aug 07, 2019

Aug 08, 2019


All satellite images are retrieved from Aerosol Watch provided by NOAA.