Jul 232008

As I’m at the mercy of the folks here with the DEMOB unit, I’m stuck with a flight with 2 layovers…one of which is in Houston this afternoon. You know, the Houston that’s about 250miles northeast of where Category 2 Hurricane Dolly is making landfall today. Needless to say, George Bush Intercontinental/Houston Airport (IAH) is experiencing a few delays. According to the FAA:

Traffic destined to this airport is being delayed at its departure point. Check your departure airport to see if your flight may be affected.

…but like I said, I’m at the mercy of the DMOB unit, who has advised me to ride it out – and check for other possibilities at my first layover (San Francisco).

Jul 212008

As I didn’t want to use the image from the lightning web site we use (’cause I think that’d be illegal), here’s a Google Earth image. The white blob shows where the lightning was today. As expected…off to our northeast.Not very exciting…but right. Super.

Jul 212008

An upper level trough pushing over the northwest U.S. today will be enough to spawn thunderstorms. Maintaining the stance here that the majority of the moisture and instability would be off to the north and east of our incident. That said, I couldn’t completely rule out convection this afternoon and tonight so I mentioned a “less than 10% chance” of thunderstorms over the incident itself. As dry as we are, any storms that form would likely be dry thunderstorms – and/or there will be wind with any cumulus build-ups. So, despite the slim chance of activity – it would be a high impact event – and thus warranted mention.

No one was surprised, as I’d been explaining the situation and the uncertainty in convection chances for a couple of days along with this system as the reason for the daily mention at briefing while still leaving it out of the official forecast.

I leave here on Wednesday.

Jul 182008

I thought I’d lend a little frame of reference as to where I am. Here are a couple of Google Earth screen captures. The first, is a wide-angle visual of northern California with both the fire perimeters and the location of camp (the ICP). The second image is a zoomed-in version of the first. In the second, the fires in the complex are labeled. Despite the fact that the complex is only 55% contained according to this morning’s situation report – only the Motion fire if of much consequence at this point.

Jul 182008

Despite the fact that this is currently the biggest fire in the country, things are a bit slow – and are already kind of winding down. There’s a projected containment date of July 25th. So, if that comes to fruition, they likely won’t need me much beyond that date.

Here’s a picture of Makoto, the IMET I relieved today, giving the afternoon planning weather briefing yesterday:

Here’s the area where the morning briefings are held:

…and there’s a track at the fairground where we’re based:

I know…boring. That’s all for now.

Jul 162008

I leave for my first National Weather Service Incident Meteorologist (IMET) dispatch this year, tomorrow morning. I’m going to the SHU Lightning Complex in Northern California (near Redding, CA). This fire has more folks on it that any fire I’ve been to yet – I think. As of this morning, there were 2,678 people at the incident. Woah. 80,957 acres are involved. (Situation report)




Sep 212007

I leave this morning at 0830 for home.

There’s a site called “Inciweb.com” that documents some things for the public, in regards to these wildfires. There are some cool photos there.

Also, at the end of a fire – we all write summaries of the fire from the perspective of our respective disciplines. Here’s mine:


September 10 ? September 19, 2007

************, IMET

The 10th and 11th of September, area weather was dominated by upper level and surface high pressure with very dry air in place. On the 12th, an upper level disturbance began to push into the Pacific Northwest as it rotated around a large upper level trough strengthening over the North Central U.S. This disturbance helped to push a dry cold front through the area during the day, prompting the issuance of an anticipatory Red Flag Warning by the Spokane NWS office early in the morning on the 12th. The warning was verified by strong gusty east to northeast winds and minimum afternoon relative humidities in the low teens to around 10% across the fire. As the large upper level trough over the northern plains retreated eastward, a weak closed upper level low pressure system developed over NE California/SW Oregon. This feature remained more or less in place from the 13th through the 15th, and helped to drive very dry primarily E to NE flow over the area. Between 0946 on the 13th and 1746 on the 15th, RH at the Gold Mountain RAWS did not rise above 25 percent ? including a minimum of only 10% in the afternoon of the 14th, and a recovery to only 19% the morning of the 15th. By the morning of the 16th, the upper low to the SW of the fire had been absorbed by a larger-scale upper level trough that would dominate over the Pacific Northwest through the 19th. This meant a transition to more moist and progressive westerly flow. As a result, moderate to excellent morning relative humidity recoveries were seen from the 16th through the 19th ? with the aid of more seasonably cool daytime temperatures – critical afternoon RH?s (below 25%) were not again reached on the fire.

I got a couple of photos from others today. In this one…I’m doing an evening weather briefing to the team. As I was getting up to start, most all of them turned their hats backwards. …that’s the way mine usually is. When this photo was taken, I think I was in the process of telling them they were all getting demerits for their behavior.

Finally, the other day we did a team photo. This is just me, and the members of Washington Incident Management Team 2. So, it doesn’t include the hundreds of firefighters on the incident.

Sep 202007

My first wild bear…awwww. The FBAN and I saw this little fella scamper off the road as we were heading to the fire lookout on Mt. Tolman. He’s still got some growing to do. I’m told that they grow into their ears, and the tops of their heads get flat as they approach adulthood.

This is the fire lookout tower on top of Mt. Tolman (~4000 feet – 47?59’50.95″N, 118?45’48.05″W).

Striking a pose on the road to the lookout.

Looking east from on the lookout tower. That brown patch near the center of the photo is from where I took the photo of the helicopter doing the retardant drop the other day. The drop was being done just to the south of the tower…where there is still some smoldering today.

The afore-mentioned smoldering south of the tower.

This is just an altered version of the tower photo above. I’m using it as my desktop background.