Dual Tropical Storms Bear Down on Caribbean and Hawaii

Two storms, 5000 miles apart, are causing concern in each ocean.  

Tropical Storm Erika is moving west in the heart of the Caribbean Islands and is set to impact Southern Florida late this weekend and early next week. The Governor has just declared a State of Emergency in preparation for its looming landfall. The storm has already dropped heavy rains on Puerto Rico and reportedly has caused destruction and death on the small Island of Dominica. 

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In the Pacific, Hurricane Ignacio is also on track for an early next week impact as it strengthens and then weakens during its approach to the Big Island of Hawaii. By Tuesday, if it stays on course, it could bring sustained winds of 85-90mph (Cat 1) to the shores of the Pacific Island Chain.

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Anyone near these cones of uncertainty should be on alert for coastal watches and warnings as well as projected heavy rains, strongs winds, and deepening tidal surge. 

 *Map data provided by the National Weather Service : Central Pacfiic Hurricane Center and National Hurricane Center.

Smoky “Lid” Slowing WA Fires & Allowing Reinforcements Time to Arrive

Since recent wildfires have wreaked havoc in the Okanogan and Chelan areas, visibility has been very smoky from what fire officials on scene are calling a fire “lid”. Although this smoky “lid” has grounded aerial firefighting operations in the area, it has also kept fire activity more at bay and allowed incoming resources more time to provide reinforcements to the numerous incident management teams tasked with controlling the now over 600,000 acres that have burned in Central and Northeastern Washington.

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 Hwy 97 South of Okanogan, WA. 1/4 Mile visibility Tuesday morning. (Photo Courtesy of Pat Durland, RedZone Liaison)

When the smoke eventually lifts and visibility reaches 2 miles or greater, air operations will commence. But firefighting officials have warned both the public and resources on scene that lifting smoke will also mean an increase in fire activity due to lowering humidity and rising heat. For the very large area of uncontrolled fire line and dry fuels, that could spell trouble for weeks to come.  

 

Firefighter Fatalities on the Twisp River Fire

RedZone extends condolences to the families and friends of the three firefighters that lost their lives battling the Twisp River Fire in Washington yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers remain with all firefighters and those displaced by wildfires nationwide.

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation accepts donations to provide assistance to the families of firefighters killed or injured in the line of duty.

 

Pacific Northwest Not Seeing Break From Fire Weather Events

Yesterday, firefighters had their 3rd straight day of Red Flag Warning conditions over the Cornet Fire (22,792 acres) and the Windy Ridge Fire (22,862 acres) in Oregon. The fires are burning within 4 miles of each other, and a cold front moved over the fire area yesterday. Historically, cold fronts have been responsible for low humidities and erratic winds that can cause extreme fire behavior and rapid fire growth. These conditions, along with poor situational awareness, have caused the loss of numerous firefighters’ lives.

Red Flag Warnings are usually issued to areas expecting low relative humidities and high or erratic winds. These circumstances lead to an increased potential for rapid fire growth; however, large fires can start and grow even when a region is not under a Red Flag Warning. As of today, the only area of the country under this type of Warning is Montana into North Dakota. There are over 50 fires in the country greater than 1,000 acres presently burning outside of this current Warning area.

 

 

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One Wildfire to Bed as Another Awakens

RedZone has been keeping a close eye on Northern California wildfire activity over the past few weeks.  A recent flurry of dry lightning thunderstorms in conjunction with drought and fire prone conditions, have led to numerous large fires across the region.  The Rocky Fire, being the largest of the fires at 69,636 acres, is nearing full containment at 88% as of 0700 hours PDT this morning.  All evacuations in relation to the fire have been lifted, and CAL FIRE’s Incident Information webpage is projecting full containment around August 13th.  In short, it looks like the Rocky Fire is well on its way to bed.

Unfortunately, just as one monster is off to sleep, it seems another has awoken.  The Jerusalem Fire, which started August 9th just south of the Rocky Fire area, quickly grew to approximately 12,000 acres in size with no reported containment as of this morning.  In fact the Rocky and Jerusalem Fire are so close in proximity, only a single valley separates the two fire perimeters from one another.  Mandatory evacuations remain in effect as a result of the Jerusalem Fire, with structures in the area reportedly remaining threatened.  Hopefully the close proximity of resources being diverted from Rocky to Jerusalem will aid in containment efforts.

Although lightning has been the main culprit for numerous fires in the region, the cause of both the Rocky and Jerusalem Fires remain under investigation.

 

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USA Wildfire update – 206 and counting

Alaska remains the unfortunate leader in wildfire, with more than 1.2 million acres involved in 17 major fires. RedZone is currently tracking 30 wildfires in Alaska.

As a comparison, the twenty largest fires in the Continental US combine to measure 382,000 acres – barely a quarter of the size of the Alaskan fires.

Within the CONUS, California has two of the five biggest fires: the Happy Camp Complex fire in Klamath National Forest at 134,000 acres, and the Lake Fire in San Bernardino National Forest at 31,000 acres. RedZone is currently tracking 18 wildfires in California, with varying levels of intensity and threat.

There are other significant fires in Oregon, Washington, and even New Mexico and Nevada. If you want reliable, timely intelligence on wildfire, turn to RedZone. For more information, visit our website at www.redzone.co.

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This screen shot from RedZone’s RZAlert dashboard shows the CONUS and wildfires currently tracked by RedZone.