Monday, July 26, 2021

2021 wildfire season: eastern area helping in the west

As this devastating wildfire season continues in the western U.S., I found myself wondering how States in the Eastern Area Coordination Center were helping in the west. Based on prior years, I knew that it was likely that wildland fire crews and engines in the eastern U.S. were helping in the west. So, I went to the Eastern Area Coordination Center to see what I could find out. I found my answer under predictive services in the resource summary page (the page I went to was dated July 24, 2021), what you see will be different.

To summarize what I saw as of Friday July 24, 2021 the Midewin International Hot Shot Crew was deployed to Montana and two type 2 IA (initial attack crews), one from Delaware and the other from Pennsylvania were also deployed to Montana.

There were a number of engines (and crew) deployed to Montana, California, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. These engines came from all over the eastern area, including but not necessarily limited to Delaware, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Maine, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, and Ohio. Several states sent more than one engine. As I understand it the engines may or may not stay out west depending on the need in their home state, with engine crews rotating out after two weeks and may be replaced by new crews. 

I would like to thank all the crews and engine crews for your service helping the western states in their devastating wildfire season. You honor us with your service. Stay safe. 

Saturday, July 24, 2021

2021 wildfire season: New South Wales 737 arrived in California

The 737 airtanker from New South Wales in Australia, known as Marie Bashir has arrived in San Bernadino, California. Thanks to the NSW Rural Fire Service for sending her to help out in the devastating wildfire season in the Western United States. She is on a 45 day deployment. Bill Gabbert of Fire Aviation reported on the loan of the 737 by New South Wales on July 21st.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Friday Fun: Helicopter Aerobatics (EAA AirVenture 2018)

Join me in watching this six minute video of helicopter aerobatics featuring the Red Bull helicopter from the 2018 EAA AirVenture 2018.

Direct link to video uploaded by AirshowStuffVideos

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

2021 wildfire season: wildfires in western U.S. (July 21st edition)

Living on the east coast of the United States, and being someone who reads the news feed and reads my newspapers (print and digital), I can not help but notice the news of the extreme and devastating wildfire out west. My heart goes out to those affected and living in the path of these wildfires as well as all the wildland firefighters on the ground and in the air working these wildfires.  Among the wildfires that Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today has covered recently are the Dixie Fire in Northern California and the Tamarack Fire, also in Northern California. On July 18th Bill posted a quick summary of wildfires in Washington and Oregon.

Inciweb information on the Bootleg Fire in Oregon, the Dixie Fire CA), and the Tamarack Fire (CA).

I think that best way that I can offer my concern and thoughts for what those of you in the west are experiencing during this devastating wildfire season is to offer these two videos. The first video is from ABC10 in Northern California with a July 20th report on some of the major wildfires in that part of California.

Direct link to video from ABC10

The last video that I will share with you is July 20th report from the PBS Newshour. You will hear an interview with  Carrie Billbao of the National Interagency Fire Center discussing the extreme fire behavior in the western United States.

Direct link to video from PBS Newshour 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

2021 wildfire season: New South Wales sending 737 tanker to U.S.

 I follow the NSW Rural Fire Service on Facebook and was very happy to read that after a request from the United States that their are sending their 737 tanker "Marie Basher" to the United States to help with the wildfires in the western United States. I am not ashamed to admit that this bought tears to my eyes. Thank-you NSW Rural Fire Service for helping us out in the western U.S. during what is turning into a devastating wildfire season. I wish you safe travels to the U.S, and safe flying once you get here. 

Monday, July 19, 2021

2021 wildfire season: wildfires out west (July 19th)

I must start with offering my kudos to all who report on what may be yet another catastrophic wildfire season in the western United States. On a regular, if not daily basis, my two go two sources of wildfire and fire aviation reporting are Bill Gabbert's Wildfire Today and Fire Aviation and Mike Archers Wildfire News of the Day e-mail newsletter (five days a week). Without them, what I try to do would be a lot harder. I myself do not "report" and I may not always write a post about the wildfire season in the western United States, but I do try to be aware of what is going on. There are also various and sundry over the air, cable, print/online news media, various state and federal agencies, and a myriad of social media sites. 

A conversation with a friend of mine about the major wildfire out west led me to offer this article to acknowledge that I am troubled by the extreme drought, heat waves and the major wildfires burning out west. More importantly, I care about our wildland firefighters on the ground and in the air fighting wildfires. Thank-you firefighters for your service, I pray for your safety.

According the the National Interagency Fire Center in their National Wildfire News for July 19th:

Wildfire activity continues in 13 states where 80 large fires have burned 1,174,486 acres. More than 19,600 wildland firefighters and support personnel are assigned to incidents. To date, 35,086 wildfires have burned 2,537,744 acres in the United States. 

Over the weekend, fuels and fire behavior advisories were issued for south/central Idaho, Northern California, Northern Rockies, and south/central Oregon. Many of these advisories describe extraordinarily dry fuels, resulting in elevated fire potential and fire activity. 

What I offer here are four videos which offer only a brief glimpse into what is going out west. Many, but not all of these fires may be found on inciweb. Included in the wildfires that Bill Gabbert is covering are the Tamarack Fire (CA) and the Bootleg Fire (OR).

Direct link to video from CBS Evening News (July 17th)

Direct link to video from KPIX CBS in San Francisco

Direct link to video from The Oregonian

Direct link to video from KGW News

Friday, July 16, 2021

NOAA Satellites detect wildfire smoke

I try to keep an eye on videos and images shared by NOAA's National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service (NESDIS) in part because satellites fascinate and as I learn I want to share this with you. NESDIS shares videos in their Earth from Orbit page. Yesterday, July 15th, NESDIS shared a video (also available on their YouTube Channel) called "Wildfire Smoke Blankets the U.S." A fascinating two minute video where you learn how NOAA's different satellites (GOES and the polar orbitors) monitor smoke and how this data is fed into models used by wildland firefighters and others to monitor wildfire smoke conditions. The July 15th Earth from Orbit by NESDIS may be found here, you may want to go I would recommend taking a couple of minutes to read the text that goes with their video. They say in part

Wildfire activity amid extreme heat and drought has resulted in smoke blanketing much of the United States and Canada. As of July 14, 2021, 68 active large fires in 12 states have burned more than one million acres of land in the U.S. To date in 2021, more than 34,000 fires have burned more than two million acres. This is the most fires in the January to July time period since 2011. July is relatively early to see wildfire activity of this magnitude.

NOAA satellites are monitoring the fires, their smoke output, and air quality effects from the smoke. The fires are injecting smoke 40,000 feet into the atmosphere and compromising air quality.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

2021 wildfire season: Preparedness Level 5

 As some of you know, here in the U.S. the National Interagency Fire Center has five national wildfire preparedness levels.

Obtained on July 15, 2021 from 

According to the daily wildfire information from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in their daily wildfire news (information on this page is updated daily so the figures you see may be different):
Seventy-one large fires and complexes have burned 993,678 acres across the United States. More than 17,000 wildland firefighters and support personnel are assigned to incidents. To date, 34,411 wildfires have burned 2,255,218 million acres. (obtained on July 15th from NIFC wildfire news

On July 14, 2021, NIFC raised the preparedness level to five, the highest level. This is the earliest the preparedness level has been at level 5 in ten years.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

2021 wildfires: Beckworth Complex, California

 I was watching videos posted by the NJFFS Section B10 (videos change weekly) and came upon two videos of the Beckwourth Complex that has burned 95,358 acres in the Plumas National Forest. For more on this Complex read the article that Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today wrote on July 11th

The first video is about three minutes and the second video is a little over eight minutes.

Direct link to video by TNLA

Direct link to video by Action of the Day

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Significant Flash Flooding near Delaware River in portions of NJ and PA

I occasionally take a time out to write about significant weather in my part of the world. I am over 50 miles from the areas that I am writing about. On, July 12th, severe thunderstorms went through portions of Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I was fortunate and only had light drizzle. Not so in Bucks County in Pennsylvania and adjoining New Jersey. Towns where significant flooding occurred include Bensalem, Bristal, and Croyden in Bucks County, PA; and Florence, NJ in Burlington County. Note that these towns are in the upper right of the image below with Philadelphia in the lower Left for reference, click on the map for a larger image.

The NWS in Mt. Holly, New Jersey issued a Flash Flood Emergency late in the afternoon of July 12th. Some places received six to ten inches.

Please, if you get alerted to a Flash Flood Warning on your smartphone, please heed the warning, go somewhere safe, preferably high groundFrom what I could tell the waters rose pretty quickly, cars got stuck in the flood waters and some were forces out of their apartments or houses due to the flood waters. Please do not drive through a flooded roadway, turn around don't drown. For more of Flood safety see this NWS page.

A special shout out to the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in Mt. Holly NJ for doing a great job with their warnings in what must have been a difficult and life threatening situation. In addition to these flash floods, there were other significant thunderstorms last night elsewhere in their forecast area. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you NWS Mt Holly for a job well done.

Kudos to all the first responders who helped flood victims to safety. Nice job! Thanks so much for your service.

WHYY, the National Public Radio Station in Philadelphia has a July 13th report on the flooding. WABC6 in Philadelphia had an eight-minute report on the flooding on July 12th.