Archive for the ‘Fires’ Category

Dust Bowl Fires
September 9, 2011

This question was brought to you by the students at the Continuum Academy & Learning Center in Livingston.  They visited me at the station and presented their research on Texas droughts in the last 100 years.  They explained how the Dust Bowl of the 1930s would not happen today because we learned from our mistakes of taking  land for granted.  They also shared how there were almost no fires during the dust bowl because of the blowing sand.  Sand puts out fires.  With the abuse of the land there also wasn’t a lot of vegetation or grass to burn.      

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How Wildfires Get Their Names
May 3, 2011


In general, naming rights go to the group that makes the “initial attack” on a fire, whether it’s a squadron of local firefighters or a team from the U.S. Forest Service. (In contrast, every tropical storm in the Atlantic gets its name from a single organization.) The commander on the scene often uses a nearby geographical feature to describe the fire, but he’s not bound by any official rules. He first suggests a name to the interagency fire dispatcher, who passes it along in fire reports, dispatches, and so on.



These are the active fires Tuesday May 3rd.  The big Texas fire is called the “Rock House Fire” after a landmark near Fort Davis. 


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California Wildfires From Space
September 10, 2009


This image was captured by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) onboard NASA’s Terra satellite.  It shows the burn scar of the Station Fire in southern California just north of Los Angeles.

This ASTER image shows the burn scar of the Station Fire on September 6, 2009 to the north of Los Angeles, California.  In this false-color image, which was made with near infrared light, the newly charred land is black, plants are dark red, and man-made surfaces are blue and white, which can be seen south and southwest of the burn scar.  The smoke in the upper right corner of the image is where the Station Fire is still burning.

  • As of today, September 9, the Station Fire has burned 160,357 acres and is 60% contained with 4,497 firefighters currently battling the blaze.

  • The size of the fire has reached half the size of Los Angeles, twice the size of Sacramento, and is the 8th largest California wildfire since 1932.

  • The fire began on Wednesday, August 26, and has destroyed 167 structures so far:  78 homes, 2 business, and 87 other structures.

  • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced a reward of $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of the arsonist(s).  The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has also offered a reward of $50,000.

  • Two firefighters lost their lives attempting to contain the fire on the night of August 30.  If found, the arsonist will be facing homicide charges.

California Wildfires
September 2, 2009


Image Credit:

Triple-digit temperatures, extremely low relative humidities, dense vegetation that has not burned in decades, and years of extended drought are all contributing to the explosive growth of wildfires throughout Southern California. The Station fire, which began Aug. 26, 2009, in La Canada/Flintridge, not far from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, had reportedly burned 105,000 acres (164 square miles) of the Angeles National Forest by mid-day Aug. 31, destroying at least 21 homes and threatening more than 12,000 others. It is one of four major fires burning in Southern California at the present time.

This image was acquired mid-morning on Aug. 30 by the backward (northward)-viewing camera of the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite. The image is shown in an approximate perspective view at an angle of 46 degrees off of vertical. The area covered by the image is 245 kilometers (152 miles) wide. Several pyrocumulus clouds, created by the Station Fire, are visible above the smoke plumes rising from the San Gabriel Mountains north of Los Angeles in the left-center of the image. Smoke from the Station fire is seen covering the interior valleys along the south side of the San Gabriel Mountains, along with parts of the City of Los Angeles and Orange County, and can be seen drifting for hundreds of kilometers to the east over the Mojave Desert.



Environmental Impacts:

  • As of today, September 1, the Station Fire has burned 105,296 acres and is 5% contained with 3,655 firefighters currently battling the blaze.

  • The fire began on Wednesday, August 26, and has destroyed 53 structures so far.  At least 10,000 homes, 500 businesses and 2,000 other structures are threatened.

  • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency Friday as a result of the Station Fire and mandatory evacuations have been ordered for the 10,000 homes threatened.

  • Two firefighters lost their lives attempting to contain the fire on Sunday night.