Fires and smoke

Yesterday afternoon smoke from the Gladiator-Crown King and Tonto fires began spreading toward Catalina.  Here are a couple of photos taken toward evening.  The first photo is of the Gladiator fire plume and the second has the Tonto fire plume on the horizon on the right.  You can see a bit of separation between the two plumes.

As is typical of fires, they flare up during the hot daytime hours as these did yesterday, and those plumes are the evidence from that.  This morning, like yesterday morning, the plumes are likely to be more like haze layers than plumes, but then the plume characteristic will likely return this afternoon and evening as the fires heat up again.

Plumes like these in the photos show fairly close origins of fires, where smoke that has drifted in from Alaska or Asian fires would not have the streaks and irregularities in density that you saw yesterday evening.  Those from very far away would be more of a whitish vellum over the whole sky in which the layer seems to be almost the same thickness as you look toward the sun.  Generally, you don’t see those “long-range transport” layers when looking opposite to the sun.

Below, a satellite image from the University of Washington showing where the two fires were as of 6:15 PM yesterday relative to Catalina (the circle).  You can just barely make out the plumes that were heading our way.

Also you can see how close a bunch of Cumulonimbus clouds got to us yesterday evening, ones moving from the N as a new round of rain spread over eastern Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.  Sadly, they will stay well to the east of us.













Earth on fire map

How does fire activity in the US and Arizona compare with worldwide fires?  Not so bad.

Below is a summary map of fires for the last ten days of this past April as detected by satellite. This image was provided by the University of Freiburg, Germany. These are not campfires, but full blown deliberately set or wildfires.

Kinda depressing. Those in the Saudi desert may just be those due to the burnoff of natural gas, yikes what a waste!

Also, you may notice not so much going on in the Brazilian rainforest, say compared with the jungles in central Africa-Zambia. This is mainly due to the fact that the rainy season is just coming to a close in Brazil,and most “biomass burning” takes place during the dry season, one that peaks in August, but also due to the Brazilian government’s attempts to reduce such fires in the “Green Ocean.”


The End.

By Art Rangno

Retiree from a group specializing in airborne measurements of clouds and aerosols at the University of Washington (Cloud and Aerosol Research Group). The projects in which I participated were in many countries; from the Arctic to Brazil, from the Marshall Islands to South Africa.