Smoke Impact Summary #2 Soberanes Wildfire
Air Basin: North Center Coast CAL Fire IMT 4 w/ USFS
Issued for July 30th, 2016 Prepared by: Gary M. Curcio
Time: 4:30 PM Air Resource Advisor
Fire Status & Key Points:
1. Fire has burned approximately 33,668 acres as of 7/30/16.
2. Yesterday the fire increased in size by approximately 2,300 acres.
3. The expected growth for today is 2,500 acres.
Photo: Saturday 7/30 at 11:45 AM PDT. MODIS heat signatures identified active burning on the fire’s east side. The red heat signatures are 0 – 12 hours old while the orange heat signatures 12 – 24 hours old. The fuels for the Soberanes Fire are extremely dry and the energy they can release when burning can facilitate large fire growth. This makes suppression effort difficult and wildland smoke emissions plentiful.
Photo: IR Flight from last night July 29th identifying areas of intense heat (red shading: south/southeast edges of fire) and scattered heat (yellow shading). These areas are the main areas for the origin of smoke production as well as various points of isolated heat. Most of the new fire growth occurred on the SE / S sides of the fire. It is expected that the Marine Layer and natural up valley winds will sweep clean air into the Salinas Valleys and Carmel Valley. These valleys are expected to experience periodically, levels of smoke at AQI values for Moderate and Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
4. The extent of smoke production was significant yesterday. Contributions were from burnout operations, residual burning and fire growth. With the wind pattern being experienced smoke today we expect plumes to be moving to the N/NE with some smoke at lower levels being siphoned off by valley winds from the Carmel and Salinas Valleys.
Photo: NOAA Hazard Mapping System quantifies three layers of smoke: light, medium & dense that occurred yesterday, July 29th. It doesn’t define the vertical level that each of these smoke layers occur. It does provide valuable information as to the potential horizontal extent of the smoke plume or zone of influence. The yellow dots represent MODIS heat signatures.
5. AQ monitors are providing observations for the fire’s Smoke Impact Forecast and AQ Outlook Table. This can be used for planning personal activities.. For each station AQI information is provided on what was observed yesterday. This provides a reference point for when forecasting for AQ Today and Tomorrow.
6. Photos above: For the second second straight day and captured by satellite imagery the Soberanes smoke plume: halted its SE advance at 6:30 AM, retreated by 8:30 AM and then began moving off to the NE.
7. The marine layer / inversion will continue to wall off the wildfire’s smoke that is above the marine layer. This higher level smoke is making its way to the San Joaquin Valley and Sierra Foothill. The marine layer also caps wildfire smoke that is under the inversion. This smoke below the inversion is being lifted but only to the bottom of the inversion. This facilitates better air quality at the surface.
8.A positive point note: the wildfire smoke is is assisting in the suppression effort. It is providing a “Smoke Veil”. This veil produces a shading effect and thereby generates a cooling effect on forest fuels and air temperature. By decreasing temperatures ever so slightly, this can moderate fire behavior and thus aid in the suppression effort.