Entries by RedZone

WildFire 101: Haines Index

Haines Index is used to indicate the potential for rapid fire growth due to dry and unstable atmospheric conditions over a fire area. The index is a simple way to measure the atmosphere’s contribution to the fire’s growth potential. A high Haines Index is correlated with large fire growth where winds do not dominate fire behavior. […]

Wildfire 101: Lightning Activity Level (LAL)

The Lightning Activity Level (LAL) is a measurement of cloud-to-ground lightning activity observed (or forecasted to occur) within a 30 mile radius of an observation site.    The LAL is part of the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) and consists of two reports. The first report covers the period from the previous day’s observation […]

Wildfire 101: Ignition

Since 2001, each wildfire season has averaged almost 73,000 ignitions and over 6.5 million acres burned in the U.S. Interestingly, the vast majority of these ignitions are human-caused, but the total acreage burned is mostly accredited to lightning-starts. Annually-collected statistics on ignitions show that 85% of all wildfire starts this century have been classified as human-caused. […]

Wildfire 101: Fire Anatomy

Wildland firefighters use very specific terminology to describe the various parts of a fire.  The fastest-moving portion is designated the “head” of the fire, the sides of the fire are known as the “flanks”, and the slowest moving portion is known as the “tail” or “heel” of the fire. The origin of the fire is […]

NASA’s JPL announces plan for more advanced wildfire detection by 2018

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has been refining a concept first proposed in 2011 for a network of space-based sensors called FireSat that would revolutionize the monitoring coverage of wildfires globally.   According to the JPL, “FireSat would be a constellation of more than 200 thermal infrared imaging sensors on satellites designed to quickly locate wildfires around […]

California’s Fire Potential Outlook for December

    Southern California: Normal significant wildland fire potential is expected for Southern California for the outlook period. Weather and Fuels: After a relatively wet early October, the weather over much of the area turned warmer and drier during the second half of October and into November. A strong ridge of high pressure over the […]

Top Ten Things You May Not Know About Wildland Fires

  1) 90% of wildfires are human-caused Sources of anthropogenic wildfires are most often accidental ignition by campers, hikers, or garbage/debris burns…but some are purposely started by arsonists.. 2) But the majority of acres burned comes from lightning ignitions Because they often occur in isolated locations with limited access, lightning fires burn more total acres than human-caused starts. The […]

Black Friday Brushfires

On Friday January 13, 1939, Victoria, Australia suffered one of the worst wildfires in history. These fires came to be known as the Black Friday brushfires. They burned nearly 5 million acres and 71 people lost their lives after several towns were destroyed. Prior to Black Friday, Victoria had experienced a long, dry, and hot […]

This Week in 1956: Inaja Fire Tragedy

On November 24th, 1956, a wildfire began on the Inaja Reservation near Julian in East County, San Diego that would kill eleven firefighters and change the landscape of wildland firefighting.  On the night of November 25th, firefighters were attempting to cut a control line around the fire in San Diego Canyon.  They were quickly forced to retreat up an […]

What Warrants a Red Flag Warning from the National Weather Service?

Another Red Flag Warning was issued for Southern California late last week for very low humidities and strong offshore winds. But what factors actually warrant this official notice from the National Weather Service and what do the associated weather conditions mean? A Red Flag Warning is used by the National Weather Service to inform area firefighting and land management agencies […]