Friday, September 6, 2013

9/6/2013 Rim Fire Extended Air Quality Report

Rim Fire, Air Quality Resource Advisor Report             Friday, September 6, 2013
 Prepared by: Ron Sherron, Leland Tarnay, Sharon Grant, and Ryan Bauer
Key Points:
  • Fire has burned 246,350 acres and is 80% contained.  About 9,000 acres of growth occurred over the past two days, the majority of it yesterday in the Clavey River drainage.
  • RH is expected to dropoff steeply as the temperatures rise, with ridgetop RH forecasted to be in the low 10’s to 20’s across the fire.  Haines index is forecasted as 5 today meaning with higher instability, plume dominated fire behavior is likely as is the possibitliy of for spotting.  It will be breezy again across the fire as upcanyon winds are enhanced by slope alignment.  Continually warmer and drier conditons are expected through the weekend.
  • The fire saw an uptick in behavior as the south-southwesterly winds aligned with the Clavey River Drainage in Division K/L.  Several spot fires occurred and a well defined column was present. #1 Priority is to line the spots and continue to hold Divisions K and L. Division Z will continue mop-up and scout out best route to tie the line into the rocky ground east of Cherry Lake. Two NPS Wildfire Modules will begin working the eastern side of the fire to  check the spread in the rocks. Firing was completed in Division P and mop-up will begin today. Divisions A,B,D, and E were all calm.

Figure 1 Rim fire operations map for 9/6/2013 with MODIS satellite heat detections from 07:30 today (orange dots represent activity within past 12-24 hrs, red dots represent activity within past 6-12 hours) showing location of the  firing operation completed in Div P (orange), and spot fires resulting from yesterday’s activity  in the Clavey River drainage (yellow).

Figure 2 Rim fire infrared perimeter from 9/5/2013 with MODIS satellite heat detection and visible satellite image from 16:30, 9/4/2013 showing location of fire highest fire activity and outline of visible smoke.

Figure 3 Rim fire infrared perimeter from 9/5/2013 and satellite image from 09:00 9/6/2013 of visible smoke, showing air quality monitoring locations.

Satellite imagery from this morning shows the main body of smoke from the Rim Fire extending north over Pinecrest and Bear Valley (Figure 3). Air quality monitors in those locations reported impacts in the unhealthy range this morning. Smoke pooled overnight in Markleeville and Minden, where air quality reached the unhealthy ranges (figure 4).
Smoke settled down the Clavey River drainage into the Groveland and Lake Don Pedro area overnight due to the inversion (Figure 3). This is slightly different from yesterday’s impacts which were not as confined to the drainage allowing smoke to spread into Tuolumne City and Sonora.

Figure 4 3-hour average fine particulate (PM 2.5) concentration at five (5) monitoring locations downwind of the Rim fire with associated Air Quality Index (AQI) health hazard ranges and adjectives. All data are preliminary and have not undergone quality assurance review.
The air quality monitor at the Drew Meadow ICP was moved to a location farther from vehicle and generator emission sources. It is back up and running with acceptable data as of 15:00 9/3/2013. Smoke impacts continue during the morning hours each day at both base camps. Impacts continue to reach the unhealthy AQI range at Drew Meadow ICP for about 8 hours each day (Figure 5).

Figure 5 3-hour average fine particulate (PM 2.5) concentration in the Drew Meadow and Tuolumne City Incident Base Camps with associated AQI ranges and adjectives. All data are preliminary and have not undergone quality assurance review.

Figure 6 air quality monitoring sites in the Rim Fire area with Rim fire infrared perimeter from 9/3/2013.

Table 1 selected air quality monitor data and corresponding AQI rating, meanings, and recommendations with forecast levels for today. Data are preliminary and have not undergone quality assurance review.
Follow the links in the following table to view real-time air quality monitoring data for each site.

24-hour Avg PM2.5
3-hour Max PM2.5
Level of Health Concern


Actions to Protect Yourself
For Friday
Sept. 6, 2013
Yesterday, Sept. 5, 2013
La Grange
Greeley Hill
El Portal
Tuol. Mdws Reno
Air quality is satisfactory and poses little or no health risk
La Grange

Yosemite Vly
S. Lk. Tahoe Columbia Carson City

Air quality is acceptable for most. There may be moderate health concern for a small number of sensitive people.
Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.
S. Lk. Tahoe
Yosemite Vly. Columbia
Tuol. City



Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects.  The general public is not likely to be affected.
People with heart or lung disease, children and older adults should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.  Everyone else should limit prolonged or heavy exertion.
Tuol. City

Bear Valley
Markleeville. Pinecrest
Drew Mdw ICP
Everyone may begin to experience more serious health effects.
The following groups should avoid all physical outdoor activity: People with heart or lung disease, children and older adults.  Everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.
Bear Valley

Air Quality Index (AQI) ratings are derived based on the recommendations found in Wildfire Smoke: A Guide for Public Health Officials.
Friday, September 6, 2013
Conditions this morning are a little better than yesterday in many areas. The smoke from yesterday’s fire activity was much more concentrated; so too are this morning’s air quality impacts. The heaviest morning smoke is in communities to the northeast of the fire area such as Pinecrest, Bear Valley, Markleeville, and Minden. Morning smoke was not as heavy in Carson City, and South Lake Tahoe due to a shift to more southwesterly transport winds (Figure 2). Tuolumne City, Sonora, and Columbia all saw impacts by late morning as the inversion began to break. All areas should see their best air quality in the afternoon. Daytime transport winds will remain southwesterly, keeping smoke out of the Yosemite Valley, El Portal, and the San Joaquin Valley. Nighttime impacts similar to yesterday are likely for Carson City and Minden, continuing into Friday morning (Figure 7).

Figure 7 6km BlueSky particle model prediction for 16:00 9/6/2013.
Figure 8 6 km BlueSky particle model prediction for 07:00 9/7/2013.

Saturday, September 7, 2013
Smoke impacts continue to follow the pattern of the past two days. The BlueSky model is predicting impacts to extend further southwest and northwest of the fire area than in previous days, possibly impacting La Grange, Sonora, Columbia, Angels Camp, San Andreas, and potentially even Placerville (figure 8). The model is showing smoke from the American and Aspen Fires that is not showing up on the satellite image, and is not expected to have the impacts predicted by BlueSky, therefore, impacts shown for Fresno and for the area north of I-80 are likely inaccurate (Figure 5).  The morning inversion will be quite strong, probably persisting until noon. It may take a bit longer for southwest winds to clean smoke out of the western slopes of the Sierras, possibly until late afternoon. The weather model suggests weaker transport flow east of the Sierra crest and possibly even a weak easterly flow over the Great Basin, so BlueSky is concentrating smoke in the Yerington area, a little further east than usual (Figure 9). It is probably just as likely that impacts will continue at about the same intensity in Minden and Carson City.
Figure 9 6 km BlueSky particle model prediction for 16:00 9/7/2013.

Sunday, September 8, 2013
Morning smoke impacts are forecast for the Sierra foothills and central valley, under a strong inversion, from Merced northward to Sacramento (Figure 10). Again the model is predicting emissions from the American and Aspen fires that are not likely to occur on Sunday, so, the impacts shown in the Nevada City/Grass Valley area, and those shown east of Merced should probably be disregarded. Inversions should be fairly strong, so clearing from low-lying areas likely won’t occur until around noon. Afternoon transport winds should remain about the same speed but swing around to a more westerly and possibly even north-westerly direction. Based on the 6km model runs (2km runs were not available at the time of this report) it looks like the Yosemite region will be right on the edge of any impacts, so, it is likely Tuolumne Meadows will see impacts Sunday night in to Monday morning, and some smoke could settle into the Yosemite Valley as well. I will update this if necessary when the finer scale runs become available.

Figure 10 6km BlueSky particle model prediction for 07:00 9/8/2013.

Long-range outlook
On Monday, winds return to a westerly direction. This should clean out any smoke that settles into the Yosemite Valley. Some cloudiness is predicted, which could delay the breakup of an inversion.                                                              


No comments:

Post a Comment