Monday, February 27, 2017

New Jersey: prescribed burns and weekend brush fire (2/27)

As I was out and about around mid-day Saturday (February 25th), I was listening to the radio and happened to hear a traffic report saying that Route 35 in the Keyport area of Monmouth County was closed due to a brush fire. The report was all of about 30 seconds, but got my attention because of the brush fire. Later that afternoon, I was again listening to the radio and heard a report that Route 35 was open. Now I don't exactly know where the brush fire was, but I am sharing an image from Google Earth of the Keyport area, zooming out to show the Garden State Parkway.

According to a report I saw on the B10 NJ Wildland Fire Page, the 13-acre brush fire was in a marshy area of Keyport in Monmouth County (NJFFS Section B10) adjoining Route 35 was contained about 5 PM. Structures were threatened at one point, and to the best of my knowledge there was no damage to structures. I found this brief report from the Asbury Park Press.

I just checked the The New Jersey Forest Fire Service (NJFFS) Facebook Page and see that the NJFFS is conducting prescribed burns today (February 27th) in the following locations:

Burlington County
Rancocas State Park, Westampton Twp;
Brendon Byrne State Park, Woodland Twp.
Camden County

Wharton State Forest, Waterford Twp.
Monmouth County

Monmouth County Park, Upper Freehold Twp.

Pleasant Run WMA, Upper Freehold Twp.
Ocean County
Stafford Forge WMA, Little Egg Harbor

Manchester WMA, Manchester Twp 

Greenwood WMA Lacey Twp 
Manchester WMA, Manchester Twp

Crossley Preserve, Manchester Twp.

Friday, February 24, 2017

New Jersey spring wildfire season is coming and warmer then normal temperatures

I wrote on February 24th () about a 500+ acre wildfire that burned last Sunday into Monday in a remote section of the Greenwood Wildlife Management Area, in Manchester Township, Ocean County NJ. I also posted some information about prescribed burns that were conducted earlier this week by the New Jersey Forest Fire Service.

I knew that the New Jersey Forest Fire Service conducted more prescribed burns on February 22nd in Ocean, Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester Counties. I checked the New Jersey Forest Fire Service’s Facebook page yesterday and earlier this morning, wondering if there were more prescribed burns scheduled. I saw that none were scheduled.

When I came upon this February 20th video report from NBC10 in Philadelphia, I got my answer to why there were no prescribed burns scheduled for the 23rd and 24th. If you could hold off on viewing the NBC10 report for a moment, allowing me to digress. I did know that both yesterday and today we have a shot of warmer then normal temperatures. Temperatures yesterday were in the upper 60s and low 70s, and temperatures today will be about the same. See for example these observations for New Jersey and adjoining areas of Delaware and Pennsylvania reported by the National Weather Service at Mt. Holly NJ

ASUS41 KPHI 241511

1000 AM EST FRI FEB 24 2017


        OR FOG.


POMONA         MOSUNNY   68  53  58 S12       29.98R
WILDWOOD*      MOSUNNY   64  54  69 S13       29.99R
MILLVILLE      SUNNY     65  56  72 S8G17     29.97S
WRIGHTSTOWN    SUNNY     66  56  68 SW13      29.94R
MOUNT HOLLY    SUNNY     67  55  65 SW9       29.96R
TRENTON        SUNNY     65  55  70 SW10      29.95R


SUSSEX         SUNNY     63  54  72 SW6       29.93S
ANDOVER*         N/A     64  52  64 SW10      29.93S
MORRISTOWN     MOSUNNY   64  54  68 W5        29.95S
NEWARK         PTSUNNY   66  55  67 SW7       29.95S
TETERBORO      SUNNY     65  54  67 SW12      29.94F
CALDWELL       MOSUNNY   63  53  70 VRB5      29.95S
SOMERVILLE     SUNNY     64  53  67 VRB3      29.93F
ALLAIRE*       SUNNY     67  55  65 S13       29.98R
TOMS RIVER*    SUNNY     68  55  63 SW14G20   29.98R


PHILADELPHIA   MOSUNNY   65  54  67 SW12      29.95S
NORTH PHILA    SUNNY     66  56  70 SW12      29.96S
BLUE BELL*     SUNNY     63  54  72 S7        29.94S
DOYLESTOWN     SUNNY     63  55  75 VRB7      29.93F
QUAKERTOWN*    SUNNY     64  55  72 SW9       29.94F
PERKASIE*      FAIR      63  54  72 SW6       29.95S
POTTSTOWN      SUNNY     62  53  72 SE6       29.95S
LANCASTER      SUNNY     65  56  72 S7        29.92S
COATESVILLE    SUNNY     63  55  77 VRB6      29.95S
READING        SUNNY     66  55  67 SW8       29.91F
ALLENTOWN      SUNNY     65  53  65 VRB6      29.92F
MOUNT POCONO   SUNNY     60  53  77 SW7       29.92F
HAZLETON       PTSUNNY   63  52  67 S8        29.93S
LEHIGHTON      FAIR      61  50  67 CALM      29.92F
WILKES BARRE   PTSUNNY   63  53  70 W9        29.88F


WILMINGTON     SUNNY     63  54  72 SE7       29.95S
DOVER          SUNNY     67  65  92 S12       29.95S
GEORGETOWN     PTSUNNY   70  56  61 S8        29.98R
EASTON         SUNNY     66  55  68 S10       30.00R
ABERDEEN       SUNNY     64  55  72 S7        29.95S
PATUXENT       MOSUNNY   66  58  75 S8        29.96S
OCEAN CITY     SUNNY     64  57  78 SW9       29.98F
WALLOPS ISLAND MOSUNNY   64  58  80 S12       29.98F
CAMBRIDGE      SUNNY     66  57  72 SE6       29.97S
SALISBURY      PTSUNNY   68  57  68 S9        29.97S


HARRISBURG     MOSUNNY   63  53  70 SE8       29.89F
STATE COLLEGE  CLOUDY    61  52  72 CALM      29.86S
WILLIAMSPORT   PTSUNNY   63  52  67 E8        29.86S
BINGHAMTON     CLOUDY    59  52  77 S8        29.84S
NEW YORK CITY  SUNNY     63  53  70 VRB6      29.98R
BALTIMORE      MOSUNNY   68  56  65 SW5       29.92F
WASHINGTON DC  MOSUNNY   64  56  75 S10       29.93F


Ok, so the temperatures yesterday and today are more like temperatures we experience in mid-May. What do these warmer then normal temperatures mean for us in New Jersey as the normal start of the spring wildfire season is less then a month away? Back to the February 20th video from NMC10 in Philadelphia. The NBC10 reporter interviewed Shawn Judy of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. Mr. Judy pointed first to warmer then normal temperatures over this past weekend which means an earlier start to the spring wildfire season. He cited the example of the 540 acre wildfire that burned in Manchester Township (Greenwood Wildlife Management Area) last Sunday (February 19th). I learned something new when Mr. Judy was discussing the importance of prescribed burns in That is, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service does not conduct prescribed burns when the temperatures are above 60F because prescribed burns are too risky at those those temperatures.

I share this February 20th video report from NBC10 in Philadelphia with you, and hope that you spend a couple of minutes to watch the video. The embed code did not work here, which may a good thing because sometimes the embed code is only good for a limited time. Knowing this, I tried to summarize the salient aspects of the report above.

These May temperatures will end over night tonight. But light rain is expected over the weekend with showers early next week, perhaps limiting prescribed burns? I'll be checking the New Jersey Forest Fire Service’s Facebook page for updates about any planned prescribed burns in the coming days.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Signs of the advent of spring in NJ: prescribed burns and wildfire activity

Depending on weather conditions wildfires can happen at any time of year in New Jersey and elsewhere, but with spring being just around the corner that means that spring fire season in New Jersey in coming. So while February in New Jersey may not be the spring wildfire season there was, nonetheless, a wildfire in the New Jersey Pine Barrens this past Sunday (February 19th).

About 10 AM on Sunday, February 19th, a wildfire of undetermined cause, was reported in the Greenwood Forest Wildlife Management Area in Manchester New Jersey (Ocean County). When I travel through the New Jersey Pine Barrens I frequently take a route that takes me through the Greenwood Forest Wildlife Management Area (link to map) which is near county route 539 in Ocean County so I have a general idea of where the wildfire was located. Two helicopters worked the fire, one for observation and the other using a bucket to drop water on the wildfire, and no property was damaged. (see this February 19th article from NJ Advance Media along with this February 19th report from NBC news in New York).

The wildfire burned just under 570 acres before being contained on February 20, 2017, see the following Facebook Post from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service for more information:

Meanwhile, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service has resumed prescribed burns, at least in central and southern New Jersey. On February 19th and 20th the following prescribed burns were scheduled by the New Jersey Forest Fire Service:

Franklin Parker Preserve. Chatsworth (Burlington County)
Warren Grove Range, Stafford (Ocean County)
Brendan Byrne State Forest (Burlington County)
Joint Base McGuire-Dox (Ocean, Burlington Counties)
Allaire State Park, Wall (Monmouth County)
Lake Shenandoah, Lakewood (Ocean County)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Historic Airtankers - CAL FIRE S2A Airtankers (1973)

Enjoying a little downtime today, Presidents Day in America. Enjoy this video from 1973 about the Grumman S2-A tankers that began to serve what was then the California Division of Forestry (CDF) in 1973. It is entirely possible that I have embedded this video at some point. And if so, it is worth sharing again. In the later half of this footage you will see some footage of TBM single engine tankers that flew for the CDF before the CDF acquired the Grumman S3A tankers and some Lynch B26 tankers.

I wrote about the Grumman S2-A (and the S2-T's), the last of which flew in 2005 here, they were replaced by the S2-T tankers which are still flying. I have several posts on the TBM Avenger that I you may read here, with the latest post at the top (sorry).

Direct link to video

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