FireNetters, the below post is from Mike Fromm at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory who leads an informal international group who observe, monitor and research pyrocumulus events (abbreviated pyroCb). It has only been in recent years that we have been able to observe these (literally stratospheric) events in near-real time from a variety of space-based platforms as well as make ground based measurements on lofted emissions as they travel around the world; sometimes two or three times in fairly coherent packages. There is much about these major wildland fire induced atmospheric events and their long-term impacts that we do not yet understand.
Mike provides a website of an impressive time lapse video source from a slightly-distant homeowner with a good view of the Waldo Canyon Fire. This is a wildland urban Interface (WUI) fire occurring where the Rocky Mountains conifer forests meets the adjacent foothill grasslands, near Colorado Springs, Colorado. While you can not see the many small communities hidden behind the mountains take my word for it, they are there. Eventually the fire burns down into Colorado Springs itself. For the most recent information concerning this wildland fire incident visit http://inciweb.org/incident/2929/.
These relatively low mountain and foothill elevation wildfire events, are to me reminiscent in some respects to the begriming of the 1988 fire season. When widespread hot, dry, windy conditions in June created fires that surprised many "experts" in not only their early season occurrence but also in their exhibited extreme fire behavior. The rest of that 1988 season, and more recent fire seasons, are history as large fire occurrence transitioned from the lower elevations up into the higher landscape. The 2012 fire season in the western US is still being written but already encompasses a larger geographic area than 1988 and other years did by the end of June.
- Chuck Bushey, FireNet moderator, IAWF past president
Here is an amazing 5-day time lapse of the Waldo Canyon Fire. It is essentially a college course in meteorology, fire, and even a touch of astronomy, all compressed into 16 minutes:) This is perhaps one of the few benefits of having a fire at the wildland-urban interface...eager, savvy picture takers.
For those unfamiliar with the territory, the camera appears to be northeast of Colorado Springs, pointing west southwest. The iconic Air Force Academy A-frame chapel stands out just right of center, and Pikes Peak is the tall peak mostly in line with the Academy and beyond the front range.
There is a nice capture of pyroCb on Sunday, and a striking view of the pyroCb on Tuesday evening. The plume spreads out to obscure the full convective column, but even the portion that is observable is impressive.
Re. the pyroCb, there is a bit of Murphy's Law happening. Two hours of action are missed because of a dead camera battery!
Here it is:
- Mike Fromm