GROVELAND, Calif. -- One of the largest wildfires (click here) in recent California history burned out of control in and around Yosemite National Park on Saturday, charring more than 125,000 acres, briefly threatening San Francisco’s power supply and frustrating firefighters' efforts to contain it.
The fast-moving Rim fire has doubled in size since Thursday night and remains only 5% contained, with steep terrain, warm weather and low humidity hampering firefighting efforts. Adding to the difficulty is the blaze's tendency to burn the tops of trees, creating a “crown fire” with long, intense flames that skip across forested land faster than a wildfire that creeps along near the ground.
Assisted by trench-digging bulldozers and water-dropping aircraft, more than 2,600 firefighters were battling the fire. Crews worked Saturday to keep the fire away from buildings at Camp Mather, just north of Highway 120...
June 27, 2013
There is currently 128,000 acres burning by official estimates. The efforts to protect the Sequoias in Kings Canyon National Park have been in place since July 3rd due to the profound drought throughout the region. Access to the parks is limited and protected.
The temperature data is ridiculous. It is way too hot. The graph above left is high and low temperatures in Fahrenheit.
This is the Yosemite temperature (graph to right) in Fahrenheit. There are some winds. Moisture content at Yosemite is not great.
4 Miles NE Yosemite Valley CA (click here)
But, when I looked at the King's Canyon Moisture content it is not great. The graph below.
Point Forecast: 16 Miles NNW Lodgepole CA.36.82N 118.81W (Elev. 4569 ft) (click here)
The forest rangers are correct, the moisture content in the historic forests are a very big concern.
It recovers somewhat overnight when the sun isn't beating down on the forest, but, the moisture gets sparse during the day. The canopies are always at risk.
This is overnight water vapor in the region. The satellite is about 14 minutes old.
Those large forests manufacture their own water vapor to some extent. They often receive morning water vapor from the ocean. Of course, moisture content helps reduce fire risk. It doesn't eliminate it and forest canopies are still at risk, but, it does serve to protect the forest.
There is a remote chance at a circulation center offshore Baja.
If that high pressure system (the dark area) can be pinched off there is a chance there might be some accumulation of clouds. It is that high pressure that keeps that area dry.
UNISYS Water Vapor GOES West Satellite (click here for 12 hour loop)
This doesn't look too shabby. But, I could not duplicate it when I looked for it again, so I can't say this is an accurate map of the forests south of Yosemite. But, this shows active moisture content that is beneficial to preventing fires.
Here it is.
Point Forecast: 13 Miles NW Lodgepole CA
36.71N 118.93W (Elev. 5878 ft) (click here)
I knew I ran across something that made me believe there was some degree of safety. This area is between King's Canyon and Sequoia National.
It sort of makes sense there would be an area with some decent water vapor nighttime recovery. If King's Canyon to the north of this and Sequoia National is to the south, it is somewhat better off. It proves that forests are important and the more of them the better it goes.
I did some readings to the west of Sequoia National and expected far better readings than I got. I tried it a few times because I simply could not believe it. But, it is dry east of Sequoia National Forest. The forest itself is more moist than the land surrounding it. I thought for sure that ocean water vapor would be providing a better moisture content between the forest and the ocean, but, it is not. Too much concrete. Heat islands.
Water vapor content is very elusive if there is not biotic content to MAINTAIN it.
It is cooler under a tree.
Keep good thoughts and maybe the forests will be okay.