Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sunday, July 31,2016 #Soberanes Fire Smoke Impact Summary #3

Smoke Impact Summary #3                                                 Soberanes Wildfire
Air Basin: North Center Coast                                                            CAL Fire IMT 4 w/ USFS
Issued for July 31st, 2016                                                                      Prepared by:Gary M. Curcio
Time: 5:25 PM                                                                                                   Air Resource Advisor

Fire Status & Key Points:  
1.       Fire has burned approximately 38,007 acres as of 7/31/16.
2.       Yesterday the fire increased in size by approximately 4,435 acres.
3.      The expected growth for today is 4,000 acres.  

Photo: Sunday 7/31 at 2:00 PM PDT. Infra-red fire perimeter & MODIS heat signatures identify active burning on the fire’s east side. This E/SE side of the fire is where fire growth continues to occur and is the main emission source impacting Carmel Valley and Salinas Valley communities. 
The red heat signatures are 0 – 12 hours old. The orange heat signatures are 12 – 24 hours old. They both reside in the areas of intense heat identified by the IR Flight.

Photo: IR Flight from last night July 30th identifying areas of intense heat (red shading & white arrows) 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. New fire growth continues on the SE / S sides of the fire. Being this close to smoke emissions local communities are being ephemerally affected. Air Quality vacillates through the course of the day as the Marine Layer retreats and natural up valley winds sweep clean air into local valleys.

4.    The extent of smoke production and its long range drift displays merging plumes of fires in other states. Sobranes Fire smoke comes from variours sources but a large contribution will come from a planned burnout to begin on Monday and continues on Tuesday.  This is always subject to change based on fire behavior, weather and progress made along the fireline in preparation for the burnout. The wind pattern still remains S/SW. Soberanes smoke plume continues to press 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-July 30th quantifies three layers of smoke:
1.Green = light , 2.Yellow = medium &
3.Red = dense (not shown). These layers are not defined by the elevation above ground. However, they do provide valuable information concerning the horizontal extent of the smoke plume or zone of influence. 

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. Each station’s AQI information is being provided on what was observed yesterday. This provides a reference point when forecasting AQ Today and Tomorrow values. Carmel River was “Very Unheathy” at 6 AM while Carmel Valley was trending “Unheathy” at 9 & 10 AM. Hollister which was rated for the day yesterday at “Moderate”, was tracking at “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” by 10 AM. It is not expected that these AQI levels will be maintained through the 24 hour sampling period.

6.    Photos above:  Captured by satellite imagery for the second second straight day is the Marine layer  advance and its association with Soberanes smoke plume. Its full SE advance and retreat was completed by 10:30 AM.  Comparing this to yesterday, took 2 hours longer to complete.

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. With the burnout planned for tomorrow, we expect greater impact to the San Joaquin Valley and Sierra Foothills. 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 for impacted communities.

8.    The positive point of wildfire smoke continues. The “Smoke Veil” when present  provides a shading effect. Thus generating a cooling effect on forest fuels and air temperature. This decrease in  temperature ever so slightly moderates fire behavior and thus continues to aid the suppression effort.

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