Friday, February 23, 2018

Wildfire Detection Notification App at work in Tulsa OK WFO

After the launch of GOES-R in the fall of 2016, later known as GOES-16 and now known as GOES East, I spent some time over the winter and spring of 2017 learning a little about the capabilities of GOES-16, how this satellite will improve weather forecasting,  and finally learning a little about how GOES-16 and her sister satellites (GOES-S is due to launch in March 2018) are able to improve detections of wildfires. The result of these endeavors was an eight-part series: Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection. In part 2, I introduced the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) in the GOES-R series of satellites with a video from NASA on the ABI. In part 3 I shared three examples of improved imagery with GOES-16.

With that as background and I moved on to writing about the Wildfire Detection Notification App (WFDN), developed by the National Weather Service (NWS) Norman OK Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in February 2016. In part 5 of my series on the Application of GOES-16 for wildfire detection I wrote about the WFDN Application, an application that uses GOES-16 for wildfire detection, that article may be found here.

I was very excited when the following video report from News On 6 out of Tulsa Oklahoma came across my desk this morning. The News On 6 video report is about how the the WFDN App is being used in the area served by the NWS Tulsa Oklahoma Weather Forecast Office (WFO), one of the NWS offices using the WFDN App (see part 6).The video is short, just under two minutes. My friend from the NWS Norman WFO liked the video report and agreed that I should share this with you. You will see how the WFDN helped first responders quickly respond to a grass fire in Mayes County in northeast Oklahoma last week.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Initial Attack on a Grass Fire in Oklahoma

Before I get to the video that I want to share, I want to update you on a couple of wildfires that I wrote about on February 19th. The Red Horse Fire that burned 2,549 acres in Woods County, Oklahoma that I wrote about I checked the February 21, 2018 Morning Report on the Southern Area Coordination Center  where they reported that the Red Horse Fire is at 100 percent containment. On February 20th, the Southern Area Coordination Center's Morning Report noted that the Hwy 34 and 173 Fire is at 100 percent containment. You may find the current Morning Report and other Southern Area Products under Southern Area Reports on this Southern Area Coordination Center Webpage.

Several days ago, I came upon this video from Keith Buntin showing the Jennings Oklahoma Fire Department providing mutual aid to the Yale Oklahoma Fire Department for a grass fire. The video is about 15 minutes long, and depicts initial attack by this engine and crew. The video was shot from the cab of this engine. I believe but am not certain that you are seeing an engine with a small water tanker allowing the crew to use a hose on the grass fire.


Direct link to video on Youtube




Monday, February 19, 2018

Oklahoma and Texas Wildfires - February 16 to 18

I heard of three wildfires in Oklahoma and Texas, one that burned at the end of last week (week ended February 16th) and two that were reported on February 18th. There may well have been more wildfires that I do not know about.

Kemohah Fire, near Hominy Oklahoma, 166 acres, one structure destroyed. Reported by Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today on February 16, 2017. To the best of my knowledge, this  grass/vegetation fire is contained. It apparently started as a structure fire before spreading to burn 166 acres.

136 Fire, Potter County Texas, (Highway 136 and Cass Johnson Road) was one of a four wildfires (grass?) that were reported and on or about February 18th, most are at or near containment. My understanding is that the 136 fire, a grass fire, was contained at about 10 acres with the help of three air tankers dropping on the grass fire. The Texas A&M Forest Service made three tweets on twitter about this fire all on February 18th: tweet #1 at 11:24 AM on February 18th, tweet #2 at 12:01 PM on February 18th, and finally in tweet # 3 at 2:07 PM  on February 18th they reported that the fire had burned 10 acres and was at 90 percent containment. Thanks to Mike Archer at Wildfire News of the Day for the link to an article with video from MyHighPlains (February 18, 2018) about the 136 fire and the other wild (grass) fires.

Red Horse Fire, Woods County Oklahoma, about 2,549 acres at 35 percent containment, started on or about February 18th. I first learned about the Red Horse Fire from the Oklahoma Forest Service's Daily Situation Report (Facebook) for February 19, 2018. A direct link to the OFS Daily Situation Report may be found on the February 19th entry on the OFS Fire Blog. I found two local media reports about the Red Horse Fire: Woodward News (February 18th) and NewsOK (February 18th). Thanks to Mike Archer at Wildfire News of the Day for the link to the Woodward News article.

The early reports that I saw about the Red Horse Fire from yesterday and early this morning (February 19th) reported that about 3,600 acres were burned. at some point the acreage burned was downgraded to 2,549 acres probably because of better mapping. As I was writing this, I saw the following post on the OFS Facebook page probably posted about 2:45 PM EST.



High 34 and 73 Fire, Rogers Mills County, Oklahoma, 400 acres. I wrote about this wildfire on February 16th, I have no further information on containment.

Critical Fire Weather Continues in portions of Oklahoma, Texas, and surrounding areas


Fire Weather Bundle for days 1-2, 3-8 obtained on February 19, 2018 from http://www.spc.noaa.gov/gis/

Fire Weather Bundle for days 1-2, 3-8 obtained on February 19, 2018 from http://www.spc.noaa.gov/gis/



Friday, February 16, 2018

Update on critical fire weather in So Great Plains on Feb. 14-15

I spent some time over the last two days doing the best that I can to follow any wildfire activity in the Southern Great Plains including but not limited to Oklahoma and Texas during the February 14th and 15th critical fire weather.

I expect that there are wildfires, including smaller wildfires that were quickly contained that I do not know about. I do know of two wildfires that I will mention here.

The first wildfire is a wildfire in Jones County, Texas that broke out on February 14th reported by KTXS. It seems the wildfire burned some automobiles and there houses were threatened for a time.




Sometime later on February 14th, the Texas A&M Forest Service reported that the some wildland firefighters were released from the Jones fire as local responders were making good progress in fighting the wildfire.




The second wildfire that is the Highway 34 & 73 fire in Roger Mills County, Oklahoma, first reported on February 16th. I learned of this wildfire from the Southern Area Coordination Center's (SACC) Morning Report for February 16, 2018, the current Morning Report (updated weekdays during fire season) may be found by clicking on Southern Area Products. The fire has burned 400 acres. The SACC reports that the fire is at 59 percent containment when the report went to press.

The Current Large Incidents Map (updated weekly) dated February 16, 2018 - available here - has a box with a drop down menu below the map where you can get current information on a specific wildfire. According to that drop down box, obtained at 3 PM on February 16th, the Hwy 34 & 73 fire is at 80 percent containment.

I should mention that there are other wildfires in Oklahoma and Texas mapped on this Current Large Incidents Map are not, or are no longer being reported, on by the Southern Area Coordination Center (SACC). While I did miss a couple of days, I have been following the Morning Reports from the SACC. I believe but am not certain that the wildfires that I wrote about on February 2nd are contained. I wrote about the East Buford and West Buford wildfires, both in Oklahoma, on February 5th, both have since been contained.

In closing, two maps for you. The first is the Day 2 Fire Weather Outlook issued by the NWS Storm Prediction Center on February 16th where Day 2 is February 17th. The second map is the latest drought monitor map.

Fire Wx bundle for days 1-2, 3-8 obtained on February 16, 2018 from http://www.spc.noaa.gov/gis/




Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Critical Fire Weather - Feb 14 & 15 - So Great Plains, TX & OK

I recently wrote about the extreme drought that is continuing in portions of the Southern Great Plains, including portions of Oklahoma and Texas, see my February 12th article for more information. Following up on that article on the extreme drought I went to the National Weather Service's Fire Weather page from their Storm Prediction Center (SPC) to get the fire weather outlooks issued today, February 14th.

To get the Google Earth images that I share with you below, I went to the SPC's shapefile/KML links, looking for kml files that work with Google Earth, about half way down the page I looked for "Fire Weather Outlooks (Day 1,2 and 3-8) bundle" to download and install the kml file on Google Earth. I then go into Google Earth and select only the day that I want to share with you.

In the images below, note that there is elevated fire danger on both day 1 (February 14th) and day 2 (February 15th).

Fire Weather Outlook for February 14, 2018 issued by the NWS Storm Prediction Center  on February 14th

Fire Weather Outlook for February 15, 2018 issued by the NWS Storm Prediction Center  on February 14th
Since I have been following fire weather in the National Weather Service WFO at Amarillo Texas and the National Weather Service WFO at Norman Oklahoma forecast areas, I went to the webpage of each Weather Forecast Office (WFO) to get the following images for you. Both WFOs are forecasting critical fire weather conditions for today. The Weather Forecast Office at Norman Oklahoma carries their fire weather forecast out for six days. Over the next couple of days I will do my best to try to be informed about wildfires that may breakout and report back in a day or two. In the meantime, if you want to see what is going on before I get back to you, please check out the Texas A&M Forest Service Current Situation page and the Oklahoma Forest Service Wildfire Information Page. The Oklahoma Fire News Blog with listings for earlier reports is another good source of information.

obtained on February 14, 2018 from https://www.weather.gov/ama/fireweather

Obtained on February 14, 2018 from the fire weather potential tab on https://www.weather.gov/oun/





Monday, February 12, 2018

extreme drought continues in portions of So Great Plains - Feb 12th update

I wrote about extreme drought conditions in portions of Southern Great Plains (OK and TX) on January 31st. At that time the National Weather Service Amarillo Texas was at day 110 with no measurable precipitation at their weather reporting station. On February 11th they were at day 121 with no measurable precipitation:



Look at the most recent drought monitor the area of extreme drought (D3) in red on the map has grown from what I reported on January 31st as has the area of severe drought (D2)


This severe and extreme drought in Texas and Oklahoma and environs continues to raise concerns for a possibly devastating wildfire season. See this article by The Eagle (February 11th) for some more information about the drought in Texas. Fire Danger for today, February 12th was high in the Texas Panhandle as reported by the Texas A&M Forest Service on their Twitter account.




Friday, February 09, 2018

2017 fire season: Cascade Initial Attack Handcrew

Today I am embedding a video from the Cascade Initial Attack Handcrew where they highlight their 2017 fire season. I don't exactly know where this Handcrew is based, perhaps they are based in the Pacific Northwest. Before you watch this video, I thought that you might want to read a brief summary of what handcrews do:
Handcrews are the infantry of wildland firefighting forces. Crews of 18 - 20 men and women use hand tools such as pulaskis and shovels to cut containment lines into the soil around a fire. Handcrews eliminate hotspots, so new fires won't start, and monitor unburned areas to make sure sparks don't jump the line and start new fires. Handcrews also work to reduce fire risks by removing flammable vegetation from wildland areas. These firefighters are in excellent physical condition. They may spend 12 hours or more working on the fire perimeter. A typical work day for a handcrew is filled with dirt, smoke, heat, and cold (obtained from USFS Fire and Aviation, Firefighters on the Ground on February 9, 2018)

Allow under nine minutes to watch the video. You will see some footage of helicopters working wildfires. Beautiful country!


Direct link to video on Youtube 


Wednesday, February 07, 2018

2017 fire season: Los Padres USFS Engine 47

Continuing with sharing crew videos from the 2017 fire season, here is a nice video, just over 20 minutes of showing Engine 47 from Los Padres National Forest. Nice footage of this engine crew as they work various wildland fires. You will see a couple of tanker drops.


Direct Link to video

Monday, February 05, 2018

Oklahoma 2018 fire season: large grass wildfires in Osage County

I read about two large grass fires in Osage County Oklahoma when I accessed this morning's (February 5th) Morning Report from the Southern Area Coordination Center (under Southern Area Products, reports updated daily during fire season). You may also find information on these two wildfires in the February 5th Fire News Blog from the Oklahoma Forestry Services (under fire activity with OFS Response) where the OFS reports that an Aircraft has been dispatched. Note that the KJRH in Tulsa OK reports these fires as one fire. The two large grass fires are located near Hominy Oklahoma in Osage County, both were first reported on Saturday, February 3rd:

  • East Buford, burned 6,824 acres, at 40% containment (February 4th) 
  • West Buford, burned 1,215 acres, at 40% containment (February 4th)


Friday, February 02, 2018

Some large wildfire activity in Texas and Oklahoma (Jan 25th - Feb 1st)


After writing about last weeks critical fire weather in Oklahoma on January 29th and the extreme drought in the southern Great Plains on January 31st, I want to spend a little time today writing about wildfire activity in the Oklahoma and Texas areas of the Southern Great Plains.  I will first write about some of the sources that I used before getting to the meat of this article, larger wildfires in the Oklahoma and Texas areas of the Southern Great Plains. The information presented here represents a work in progress, I hope to have more to follow as information becomes available.

There are a couple of sources that I went to in preparing this article. First is the Southern Area Coordination Center (SACC)   I look at three products, two of the products are the Morning Report  and the Detailed Situation Report from the Southern Area Coordination’s Center Predictive Services Page, click on Southern Area Products. These reports are updated daily during fire season, you are likely to see different reports from those that I reference in this article (reports dated February 2, 2018). The third SACC product that I used is their Southern Area Incident Map (updated daily by 9AM during the week. found under Southern Area Products). The map in combination with the information in the daily Morning Reports and the Detailed Situation Report are very helpful to me because it allows me easily locate a specific fire. Unfortunately, I can not link to any of these products for you. I mention them because I used them in preparing this article and I thought that you might find these products useful.

I also like to look at State Agencies Wildfire Data. Starting with Texas, I went to the Texas A & M Forestry Services Wildland Fire Division. You will afind the Texas A & M Current Wildfire Situation page useful with  a link to a nice interactive map of current wildfires in TX  (not the listing  of wildfires on the right side of the map wildfires. The Oklahoma Forestry Services has a nice fire news blog with daily entries summarizing wildfire activity that may be found here.

A note, when looking at data from the Oklahoma and Texas State Fire Agencies, I found that there some wildfires that I found on the SACC reports (e.g. the Windmill Fire below) that do not seem to be listed in the data from the State Agencies. Perhaps one explanation is what agency (State or Federal) is taking the lead of fighting the wildfire. I believe but am not certain that the Windmill Fire is a Bureau of Indian Affairs Fire.

I wanted to be able show you a map of some of the recent wildfires in the Oklahoma and Texas areas of the Southern Great Plains to give you an idea of wildfires that have burned over the last several days. So I went to the USFS Active Fire Mapping Program. You will see the map of Current Large Incidents when you access this page. If you go to Fire Data in Google Earth, you can download the current Large Incidents kmz file for Google Earth. I created the following map of large incidents for you. You will note that I have included fires in southern and central Texas as well as fires for Oklahoma. Recall that January 30th and 31st were critical fire weather days in portions of Oklahoma, Texas and adjoining areas. This map does not include the numerous smaller wildfires that have burned in the last several days in both States that are mostly contained.



Take a moment to look at the map. I am listing basic information on each wildfire for you (date started, acreage burned, and containment. Any errors in the listing below are mine. The information is taken from the SACC reports cited above and is current as of February 2, 2018.

Oklahoma
  • Windmill: date first reported - January 30th; 3,380 acres; 65% containment
  • East Side 2: date first reported - January 25th, 757 acres, 50% containment (February 1st)
  • Duncan Hollow: date first reported - January31st, 288 acres, 100% containment
  • 2073 Command: date first reported - January 30th, 320 acres, 90% containment
  • Rogue Dozer: date first reported - January 30th, 425 acres, 95% containment
  • Meachum: date first reported - unknown, 348 acres, containment unknown
  • Barick: date first reported - Unknown, 637 acres, containment unknown
  • Stidham Creek: date first reported - January 31st, 627 acres, 60% containment
  • East 8 Mile: date first reported - January 31st, 100 acres, 20% containment

Texas
  • 62 (Motley County): date first reported - January 25th; 5,042 acres; 95% containment
  • Turkey Creek: date first reported - unknown, 313 acres, containment unknown
  • Ledgerock: date first reported - January 30th, 500 acres, 100% containment
  • Split Trough 2: date first reported - January 31st; 1,000 acres, 95% containment
  • Nursery Road: date first reported - January 29th, 800 acres, 95% containment