Friday, February 17, 2017

GOES-16 video imagery (February 13th)

Thanks to the folk at the NOAA Satellites Office for sharing some great videos from GOES-16. I thought that some of you might be interested in see these wonderful images from GOES-16. All the videos were shared on the NOAA - Satellite Information Service GOES-16 webpage on February 13th.

Direct link to video from NOAA Satellites on Youtube (GOES-16 Feb 13th strengthening winter storm)

Direct link to video from NOAA Satellites on Youtube (GOES-16 water vapor imagery)

NOAA - Satellite Information Service GOES-16 webpage

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

More on bushfires in New South Wales Au - Feb 11-12

I was writing the other day about the catastrophic bushfires that burned in New South Wales, Australia this past weekend. First, I want to share a youtube video of a news report on February 12, 2017.

Direct link to video

Here is an updated assessment from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, as of this update (dated 15 February 2017) 41 homes have been destroyed.

And a map (dated 15 February 2017) showing the location of 55 bush and grass fires, with 13 not being controlled at the time of the posting. All were at the advice level.

Bush fires fall into three categories according to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service

  • Advice (blue icons on map): A fire has started. There is no immediate danger. Stay up to date in cast the situation changes.
  • Watch and Act (mapped with yellow icons): There is a heightened level of threat. Conditions are changing and you need to start taking action now to protect you and your family.
  • Emergency Warning (mapped with red icons): An Emergency Warning is the highest level of Bush Fire Alert. You may be in danger and need to take action immediately. Any delay now puts your life at risk.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Catastrophic bushfire conditions in New South Wales Australia

I got wind of an extreme and catastrophic bushfire situation in New South Wales, Australia from a friend of mine. It is high summer in New South Wales and I understand that it has been very hot. I spent a little time to check things out for you and this is what I learned.

According to a media release (dated February 12, 2017) from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS):
NSW has experienced its most dangerous day of bush fire conditions ever. 
Catastrophic fire danger conditions have been recorded on Sunday 12 February 2017 in a number of locations across the Hunter, Central Ranges and Upper Central West Plains.
Late on February 13th (remember they are a day ahead of us here in America) the NSW RFS issued a media release with an intitial damage assessment of a few bush fires that resulted in property damage. That is according to this initial assessment, 30 homes were destroyed and five were damaged. For more see this February 13th media release from NSW RFS.

Skynews Australia reported late in the evening on February 13th that:
More than 2500 firefighters fought more than 200 bush and grass fires over the weekend with areas in the central west the worst hit. 
More than 70 fires were still burning on Monday afternoon including 26 uncontained blazes.
The New South Wales Rural Fire Service has an excellent website with updated bush fire information that may be found here as well as pages on facebook and twitter.

Additional information from media outlets:
ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) updated February 14th with video
BBC News - Australia (February 12th)
The Guardian - Australia (February 12th)

Friday, February 10, 2017

A look at wildfires in Pennsylvania (2016 wildfire season)

On a quiet day after what was for me a moderate wet snow fall yesterday (not so for areas of eastern Long Island and Connecticut, I am a little tired. Interesting because I did have some good help cleaning up after the snow fall. An interesting snow fall it was because temperatures were into the 60s on Wednesday before the cold front and the snow arrived. So no more prescribed burning in my neck of the woods until the snow melts. Southern New Jersey got less snow while areas of  Northern New Jersey got almost a foot.

I came across a nice video courtesy of my friends of the videos of the week page from my friends at the B10 NJ Wildland Fire page. I enjoyed this video shot by fire photographer Bill Barr. Bill has some nice footage of SEATs and a few shots of a helo doing bucket work. Enjoy!

Direct link to video by Bill Barr

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Time for some helos fighting wildfires

Time for some more footage of helos working wildfires in support of the firefighters on the ground.

From New South Wales, Australia (uploaded Jan 26,2017)

Direct link to video

From South Africa, I think (uploaded January 6, 2017)

Direct link to video

From Kentucky (from November 2016)

Direct link to video

Monday, February 06, 2017

Prescribed burning has begun in New Jersey

I thought that with the slightly warmer temperatures coupled with the fact that the so far small amount of snow that we have received here in New Jersey means that there is at least a window of opportunity for the New Jersey Forest Service to being prescribed burning. Early indications are that there may be a snow fall on Wednesday into Thursday of at least a few inches, and there is still the rest of February and early March left, so winter is by no means over in New Jersey. So perhaps this prescribed burning window will be short lived??

According to the Facebook post from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service that I embedded above prescribed burns for February 6th are taking place in the following areas:
  • Six Mile Run State Park, Franklin Twp.
  • Wharton State Forest, Shamong Twp., Washington Twp., Tabernacle Twp., 
  • Greenwood Wildlife Management Area, Lacey Twp.
  • Brendan T. Byrne SF, Pemberton, Woodland Twp., Burlington County, Manchester Twp.
  • Buckshutem Wildlife Management Area, Fairfield Twp.
  • Millville Wildlife Management Area, Commercial Twp.
  • Peaslee Wildlife Management Area, Maurice River Twp.
  • Vineland City municipal property
Thanks to the crews of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service who are conducting these prescribed burns!

Friday, February 03, 2017

Satellite imagery of smoke from Chilean wildfires (Jan 27th)

The other day, I wrote about the wildfires currently burning in Chile, in particular referencing the great extensive coverage of Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today (see posts tagged Chile on Wildfire Today) and Fire Aviation (see posts tagged Chile on Fire Aviation). As I write this, I believe that Bill is still embedded with the crew Global Supertanker's 747, T-944.

Some of you may know that for the last couple of months I have been reading and learning about NOAA/NASA's satellites, mostly about the new GOES-16 (formerly GOES-R) that was launched on November 19, 2016. Recall that GOES-16 and the other geostationary operational environmental satellite orbit at an altitude of approximately 22,300 miles above the Earth, in a geostationary orbit.

NOAA/NASA has other satellites orbiting the Earth in addition to the GOES series, you may go to NOAA Satellites and Information Services "Currently Flying Page" for a brief introduction (and a great image) of these satellites. Today I am interested in one of the polar orbiting satellites, the Suomi NPP (Near Polar-Orbiting Partnership) satellite which I will get to in a minute. Unlike the satellites in the GOES series and other geostationary operational environmental satellites from other countries, the polar orbit satellites, orbit the Earth in a polar orbit at about 800 kilometers (or 500 miles above the Earth).

The Suomi NPP Satellite is a joint effort of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and an organization known as the NPOESS Integrated Program Office. It orbits the earth at an altitude of 833 km in a (near?) polar orbit (see the Suomi NPP status page for more information.  It is a part of the Joint Polar Satellite System, and has five instruments: VIIRS,  CrIS, ATMS, OMPS, and CERES FM5. For more information about these instruments, please go here (the information is complete but perhaps a little technical. For our purposes, I am interested in VIIRS or the Visible/Infrared Imager/Radiometer Suite (VIIRS).

Among the capabilities of VIIRS is its "multichannel imaging capabilities to support the acquisition of high resolution atmospheric imagery and generation of a variety of applied products including: visible and infrared imaging of hurricanes and detection of fires, smoke, and atmospheric aerosols" (obtained on February 3, 2017 from

And it is the ability of VIIRS on the Suomi NPP to detect fires and smoke that leads me today's post. The image below was taking by the Suomi NPP over the west coast of Chile on January 27, 2017. You will the large smoke plume for that fire. Pretty cool, huh?

Obtained on February 3, 2017 from, their image of day for 2/1/17
And you will want to read this information from the Suomi NPP Facebook Page posted on February 1st

The links on this page were current on the date I wrote this article.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Tanker History - B-25 Mitchell Tankers in Canada (1980s)

I was in the mood for a little air tanker history today. Some of you may recall that I wrote a series on the B-25 in late June and early July 2010, covering her service in World War II and her service as an air tanker in Canada. My articles with the B-25 label may be found here (most recent article on top).

At least one of these videos is a rerun, but as I have said before, reruns are fun. Enjoy.

Direct link to video

Direct link to video

Direct link to video

Monday, January 30, 2017

Wildfires in Chile - January 30th

I suspect that most of you know about the devastating  wildfires that continue to burn in Chile. I wrote on January 20th about the death of three Chilean wildland firefighters and I understand that a fourth firefighter has died, see this January 25th article by Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today, and as well as a fifth firefighter (an air tanker pilot). This in addition to deaths of civilians from the wildfires that have burned hundreds of thousands of acres. The 747 tanker was deployed to Chile last week, part of aid to Chile from around the world. The Russians sent an IL-76 tanker which arrived today (see the January 30th article on Fire Aviation) and more airtankers are enroute to Chile (see the January 29th article on Fire Aviation), including perhaps one of Coulson's C-130s.

I am embarrassed to say that I only realized today that Bill Gabbert of Wildlfire Today and Fire Aviation has been embedded with the 747 crew since it was deployed January 24th. Bill writes of the deployment of the 747 tanker and being embedded in this January 24th Fire Aviation article.

Bill has done a fantastic job reporting from Chile! Thanks Bill and stay safe. Anyway, there are way to many articles to refer to here. Rather I refer you to articles with the Chile label from Wildfire Today and articles with the Chile label from Fire Aviation. There are a lot of articles, but if you would like to see some photos and videos, see this January 29th article on Wildfire Today and a video shot from inside the 747 cockpit on Fire Aviation (January 28th). Bill has several posts with other videos and photos that you might want to check out.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Scenes from bush fire season in Australia (2017)

Earlier this week I wrote about aerial attack on some bush fires that burned last week in New South Wales, Australia. Today I continue along the same lines by embedding some videos from the 2017 bush fire season in Australia. To all my friends in Australia, stay safe.

The first three I found courtesy of my friends from the B10 NJ Wildland Fire Page who have a video of the week page (updated weekly on the weekend)

Direct link to video

Direct link to video

Direct link  to video

And these two on bush fire(s) in the Kurri Kurri region of Australia, the first uploaded on January 18th and the second published on January 24th

Direct link to video

Direct link to video (click on show more on about this video)