Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wednesday June 18, 2014 - Shirley Fire - Kern County

Last night crews made good progress on direct line construction in the southeast perimeter and the fire is now 90% contained.  No additional growth occurred overnight and the total area within the perimeter remains at 2646 acres.   The fire continued to creep and smolder within containment lines through the night. Winds decreased substantially after midnight and little smoke was emitted overnight.

Today,winds within the fire area have reduced significantly from yesterday, but daytime temperatures are expected to increase to the low 80s (F) and relative humidity levels will drop to the single digits.  No forward progress is expected in the fire behavior today.  However, green islands within the perimeter have potential to burn out, along with potential for spotting and from roll out on steep slopes. Hence, some periodic smoke production will likely to continue for a few days, and the fire continues to burn itself out.

This morning’s view from the Kernville #4 web camera, and from the time series chart below illustrates the decrease in smoke. Looking back over the last few days, the worst impacts as measured from the Kernville monitors, occurred on Saturday and to a lesser extent on Sunday, when the air quality reached “unhealthy” and "unhealthy for senstive groups", respectively.   Since Monday, smoke concentrations have decreased to the “good” category with brief bumps into the “moderate” category.  

View of the Shirley Fire from Kernville Airport on Wednesday at 7:44 am.

Rolling 3-hour Average PM2.5 Concentrations Measured at Kernville
Around the region, air quality remained in the good category yesterday, whereas on Sunday (6/16), the 24-hour PM2.5 concentrations showed that Kernville reach the “unhealthy for sensitive groups and Pinehurst reach the “moderate” levels.

Yesterday’s MODIS Aqua satellite image (250 m resolution), showed very little smoke over the fire and was dispersed within 4 miles downwind at Lake Isabella, consistent with the observations at Kernville.
Satellite image of the smoke from the Shirley Fire taken on June 17, 2014 afternoon.   The red circle is drawn around the smoke.  Lake Isabella can be seen just to the SE of the smoke.
Yesterday’s Hazard Mapping System (HMS) showed only thin smoke over the immediate area, and north over the Sierras.

With the decrease in winds, and crews in the mop-up and patrol status, the forecast for the future is continued “good” air quality in the area.   While there may be short periods of smoke as the interior continues to burn, these areas are relatively small and smoke emissions are likely to be short-lived.
Fire crews are beginning to demobilized and this will likely be the last air quality report from the Shirley Fire.

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