Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sunday, September 11, 2016, #Soberanes Fire, Smoke Impact Summary #23

Smoke Impact Summary #23                                                         Soberanes Wildfire
Air Basin: North Center Coast                                                                             Alaska IMT Type 1
Issued for September 11th, 2016                                               Prepared by:  Gary M. Curcio ARA
Time 10:00 PM                                                                                           Kathleen Stewart ARA (T)

Fire Status & Key Points:

1.       September 11th the total fire acreage was reported at 105,642 acres.

2.       There was an additional 1,795 acres of new fire growth from the previous day.

3.       Projected smoke emission impact for tomorrow, Monday September 12th is estimated at 1,200 acres. This includes: 
a.             600 acres for the burnout operation along the Coastal Ridge Rd from Marble Peak to Rodeo Flat. Approximately 1 ¼ miles along Coastal Ridge Rd was ignited during Sunday’s burn window. Each day burning conditions are being evaluated and when in prescription, burnout  ignition starts. It is expected to take several days to complete this task.  Once completed, the total acreage that can be consumed is estimated at 9,000 acres. What was ignited on Sunday affords the possibility to consume 1,280 acres over the next few days. These acres are part of the total acreage.

Burnout operation progresses on Coastal Ridge Rd with West winds pushing smoke to the East.

b.            600 acres for active burning fire on the south and southeast fire perimeter. On Sunday the North Fork and Lost Valley drainages did not burn with fire intensity anticipated.  During active fire growth much of the lower level smoke was transported to the east and eventually southeast. Emissions for Sunday were overestimated. For Monday even with forecasted increased wind speed, estimated acres that can actively burn and emissions generated are being lowered. Cooler temperatures, more stable conditions and steep topography (shielding effect from winds)  are viewed as offsetting influences.  Should the winds, terrain, and fire placement all came into alignment fire growth can be larger.

Burning in the North Fork and Lost Valley drainages

 The above picture represents VIIRS & MODIS Satellite imageries at 8:15 PM 9/11/16. It shows the areas of major smoke production, red dot squares. These heat signatures were recorded in the last 12 hours. The fire perimeter is from the 9/9/16 night’s IR Flight. The burnout progressed successfully past Marble Peak while Lost Valley & N. Fork drainages experienced additional fire runs.    
4.      Extended Outlook for the next 7 days, September 9 – 15, “future smoke emission acreage” was projected on September 9th at 9,000 acres. This estimate will be revised as needed.
Long Term Outlook for beyond 2 weeks, the “big box concept” was projected at 51,200 acres.

5.      The instability experienced on Saturday was not present on Sunday (1st Photo below). Burning was not as active and intense. Smoke columns might have achieved 8,000 feet as estimated by radar. With a successful burnout and drainages still expanding acres burned, air quality was affected.  In Salinas Valley Gonzales, Soledad and Greenfield PM 2.5 levels fluctuated throughout the day while King City remained good.  The Carmel Valley showed very little impact while Big Sur, Tassajara, Cachagua and Lockwood experienced higher concentrations of PM2.5 due to their proximity to the fire or south of the fire. Increased wind speeds will improve smoke dispersion tomorrow but more stable air will keep most of the smoke concentrations capped. This can increase impacts at ground level to communities.

Smoke did not lift as high as it did on Saturday and radar observed columns heights of 8,000 ft.

6.    IR Flights were not conducted due mechanical failure.

7.    Soberanes Fire Trajectories (12 hours at 10m, 500m, and 1000m) on September 11th starting at 3:00 PM. Major sources of smoke were used as a starting point for the trajectories. The trajectory points are Marble Peak, Lost Valley, and North Fork of Big Sur River.

8.    The potential horizontal extent of smoke from the Soberanes Fire and others is displayed below from AirNow (left) and the NOAA Hazard Mapping System (right) for September 11th, 2016 (afternoon). NOAA Hazard Mapping System shaded areas represent three types of smoke: Light (green), Medium (yellow) and Red (dense). These colors are not defined by their height above ground. However, they usually provide valuable information concerning the horizontal expanse of wildfire’s smoke plume and its zone of influence. Today’s observed smoke activity at the Soberanes fire is not consistent with these two mapping products.  Smoke in the afternoon was observed during recon flights to the east and south, while the air was clear to the west of Coastal Ridge road. 

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