Thursday, September 8, 2016

Wednesday, September 7, 2016 #Soberanes Smoke Impact Summary_#19

Smoke Impact Summary #19                                 Soberanes Wildfire
Air Basin: North Center Coast                                                Alaska IMT Type 1
Issued for September 7th, 2016                                                Prepared by:  Gary M. Curcio, ARA
Time 10:00 PM                                                                                                 

Fire Status & Key Points: 

1.       Today the total fire acreage was estimated at 101,490 acres.

2.       There was an additional 551 acres of new fire growth.

3.       Projected smoke emission impact for tomorrow, Thursday September 8th is estimated at 1,500 acres. This includes: 
a.       650 acres are expected for possible continued Burnout operations on the southwest side near Anderson Peak  
b.      850 acres free burning on the south and southeast fire perimeter. This includes the North Fork, Willow, and Arrow Seco Creek areas.

VIIRS Satellite imagery 6:45 PM 9/7/16 shows the areas of major smoke production. These are the red dot squares. These heat signatures were recorded in the last 6 hours. Yellow contours are scattered heat signatures from IR Flight from the previous night.

4.      Extended Outlook: “future smoke emission acreage” is estimated at 10,000 acres. This growth is projected from September 7th through September 14th. This figure was projected based on the tactical options presented on August 7th.  Weather, fire behavior and suppression accomplishments can be considerably change this projection.  It will be re-visited and adjusted as needed. Progress was made again today in the suppression effort as a burnout was completed to Anderson Peak. Fire runs did occur along various parts of the fire’s edge. These were captured by VIIRS.

5.      The weather today supported a burnout operation on the fire’s SW corner. Other plumes developed from other fire runs. These basically burned with the topography.  It was projected that this activity would not degrade AQ too seriously in the Salinas Valley and the Carmel River Valley. However, it did. The smoke was expected to remain residing in the Coastal Range until night fall. More escaped as Transport Winds were sufficient to transport the smoke and impact communities as well as contributions from the Gap Fire.

      Exit 313 Hwy 101 South smoke transport from burnout operation and fire runs in the Coastal Range making its way to Salinas Valley at Gonzales, Moderate Air Quality.

            From Molera Camp Hwy 1 looking southeast of Burnout and North Fork internal fire run
Moderate Air Quality at the Big Sur 1:30 PM. This photo was contributed IMET Mark Pellerito.

6.   IR Fire Perimeter & Modis Heat Signatures 9/6 at 8:00 PM

IR Flight heat intensities from the previous night are identified.  Areas of intense heat not seen and are red shaded areas behind Modis red squares & dots. IR Flight scattered heat are the yellow shaded areas. The Southern part of the fire has the most intense heat. This is where the fire expansion is occurring. This will impact air quality along the coast, east to the Salinas Valley and south into San Luis Obispo County.

7. Soberanes Fire Trajectories from a major source area of originating emission (burnout & fire runs).

12 Hour trajectory for 10 meters (green), 100 meters (blue), and 250 meters (red) from area of
active fire September 7th 11:00 AM.

8.       The Soberanes Fire smoke production and its long range drift are displayed below (top) from
       NOAA Hazard Mapping System for September 6th, 2016. The Gap Fire along the Oregon / California Border impacted the northern communities of the Soberanes Fire. 

      NOAA Hazard Mapping System Contour Colors represent three types of smoke: Light (green), Medium (yellow) and Red (dense). These colors are not defined by their height above ground. However, they do provide valuable information concerning the horizontal extent of wildfire’s smoke plume and its zone of influence.

     The NASA Worldview Image (bottom) shows Mt Shasta deflecting the smoke transport to the South / Southwest. 

The Soberanes Fire was impacted again on September 7th as the plume from the Gap Fire extends south (Photo below). This contributed to elevated readings at the local Air Quality Stations earlier than anticipated. The potential impact of the Gap Fire was considered and underestimated. The yellow contour of Soberanes (peanut shape) also extended further outside the Coastal Range then was projected. This also contributed to higher observations during the daytime on September 7th.

NOAA Hazards Mapping System September 7th, 2016 PM.


  1. thank you for this info. I've been trying to figure out why the thick smoke I both ukiah and Santa Rosa but there is barely any info on the web nor in the news.

  2. You are welcome. Your area may be be impacted by the Gap Fire, in Northern California.