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#291046 - 11/09/18 07:03 PM California Wildfires- Nov.
TeacherRO Online   content

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2377
The fires are large and growing rapidly -- and the evacuation orders cover a large segment of the population.

#291047 - 11/10/18 01:21 AM Re: California Wildfires- Nov. [Re: TeacherRO]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6693
Loc: southern Cal
Currently, something like 75,000 homes are affected in eastern Ventura County, but there are something like 30 million folks living in SoCal, so really the percentage of the population affected isn't really all that high...Small comfort if you have to evac.

From our house we can see massive smoke to the east in the vicinity of Thousand Oaks and Camarillo. Locally a power transformer blew this morning, so we got to use some of our emergency gear and review procedures. To my chagrin, one of my power banks was completely discharged, but the solar panels were working well.

Events like this just keep you tuned up and aware.
Geezer in Chief

#291048 - 11/10/18 02:20 AM Re: California Wildfires- Nov. [Re: hikermor]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6693
Loc: southern Cal
Update - make that 250,000 people under evac orders
Geezer in Chief

#291056 - 11/11/18 06:03 PM Re: California Wildfires- Nov. [Re: TeacherRO]
Pete Offline

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1360
Good morning Hikermor. I havent had a chance to get a good look at the fire situation this morning, Sunday. There are very strong Santa Ana winds today. That cant be a good thing. I am guessing that you have better local knowledge of where these fires are burning.

One problem with the fire maps on Google - it is not clear which direction the fire is going. Also, it is hard to know how recent the latest information is. If you happen to see a better source of info, please post.

For those people not in So Cal, most folks here in CA are not panicked. But as Hikermor explained, these fires are a tragedy for people living in Thousand Oaks, Calabassas, and Malibu. A very dangerous situation when the flames jump major roads, and people are trying to escape in their cars.

We send prayers for all those caught up in this disaster, and we hope they have found safe temporary accommodations.

Edited by Pete (11/11/18 06:08 PM)

#291058 - 11/11/18 06:44 PM Re: California Wildfires- Nov. [Re: Pete]
Herman30 Offline

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 248
Loc: Finland
Here is a site where you can see how the winds are blowing.


#291059 - 11/11/18 09:31 PM Re: California Wildfires- Nov. [Re: TeacherRO]
Pete Offline

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1360
Thank you Herman30. That chart of wind patterns is a great piece of information!

#291060 - 11/11/18 09:35 PM Re: California Wildfires- Nov. [Re: TeacherRO]
Pete Offline

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1360
I notice that there is an argument growing between Washington DC and the State of California ... about the costs of these wildfires.

I have no intention of getting involved in the politics.

Let me simply say this. California has an enormous quantity of dead brush, all over the western side of the State. This has been caused by many years of droughts. Our long-term weather cycle is getting much drier. In addition, many of our forests contain large proportions of dead pine trees. These trees were killed by pine bark beetles. In some forests, the dead trees are 40%, or 50%, or 60% - or more - of the total tree coverage. This is not true of all the CA forests, but it is certainly true in parts of Southern California and the Sierras.

It is completely impossible for Californians to log out all the dead timber, or remove all the dry underbrush. The economics make this impossible.

For this reason ... it is easy to make the prediction ... the worst days of California wildfires still lie AHEAD of us.

How Washington DC will handle this ... I cannot say. But I wonder if the USA national expense for emergency disasters (hurricanes, floods, wildfires) is starting to look like a rising exponential curve?

Edited by Pete (11/11/18 09:52 PM)

#291062 - 11/11/18 11:00 PM Re: California Wildfires- Nov. [Re: Pete]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4987
Id say a few controlled burns are in order, but in this day and age that might be considered political. Seems like everything is politicized these days.

#291064 - 11/11/18 11:50 PM Re: California Wildfires- Nov. [Re: Pete]
rafowell Offline

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 217
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: Pete
...One problem with the fire maps on Google - it is not clear which direction the fire is going.

Keeping in mind that evolution of wildfires is somewhat unpredictable, you can see the evolution over the last ~48 hours if you go to GeoMAC, zoom to regional level, select "Data Layers", then "Satellite Fire Detection", then "HMS Fire Detection", you will see the "current" fire marked red, prior 24 hours yellow, prior 48 hours, grey. Similar color coding applies to the other satellite data layers.

However, I would think that prediction of where the fire wants to go would be of extreme interest to incident commanders, so I am a bit surprised we don't see a GIS approach to this, factoring in weather, topography, and fuel.

From WildFireToday.com:

10:00 PM PST Nov 10 2018: snapshot of the Woolsey Fire
12:04 PM PST Nov 9, 2018: snapshot of the Woolsey Fire
Originally Posted By: Pete
Also, it is hard to know how recent the latest information is.

On GeoMAC, there is a legend below the map saying what the epoch of the data is supposed to be. As I type this, for the Woolsey fire, it says:

"Thermal MODIS 2018-11-11 1514 (MDT); VIIRS 2018-11-11 1104 (MDT); HMS 2018-11-11 900 (GMT); Fire Perimeters 2018-11-11; Situation Reports 2018-11-11 1944 UTC"

I don't know if those are "last update times" or "data was true at" times.

The currency of the satellite fire data is somewhat predictable, since the satellite passes are published. For the satellite fire data displayed on GeoMac, here's what GeoMAC has to say, followed by my thoughts:


"This thermal data is collected twice a day, at 2:00 PM EST and again at 12:00 AM EST and are then processed and merged into a single map, which is available by 3:00 AM EST." {My thoughts: the example above suggests more timely processing, since at 14:41 PST the map says it has MODIS data from 13:14 PST, shich should be the MODIS pass from around 13:00 PST. The MODIS satellites pass overhead 4x per day, around 10:30 AM/PM and 1:30 AM/PM (plus or minus an hour).[1],


"It provides data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) sensor aboard the joint NASA/NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) satellite. The 375 m data complements MODIS fire detections; they both show good agreement in hotspot detection but the improved spatial resolution of the 375 m data provides a greater response over fires of relatively small areas and provides improved mapping of large fire perimeters. The 375 m data also has improved nighttime performance. Consequently, these data are well suited for use in support of fire management (e.g., near real-time alert systems), ... The VIIRS IBAND layer is updated every two hours. However, there may be gaps in daily coverage. If we have received no new data, the "expired" layers are not replaced. The layer is replaced as soon as we receive an updated file." { Updates every 2 hours are far better than once every 24, but this instrument is only on the Suomi-NPP satellite. You can find the NPP Orbit Track online, but the passes are basically 1:15 AM and 1:15 PM, plus or minus an hour.

Originally Posted By: Pete
If you happen to see a better source of info, please post.

Currently, the best "one-stop shop" for fire maps seems to be GeoMAC .

The traditional "goto" site for wildfires, InciWeb, underwent an update this March that made it harder to find information on a particular fire. However, if you go to their LINKS section,there's lots of good stuff there. In particular, it lists the regional coordination centers. The Southern California Geographic Area Coordination Center links to the "Current Fire Information" at Cal Fire which links in turn to the Woolsey Fire Incident Report

The GeoMAC online fire viewer from USGS is pretty good, and lets you isolate fire detection from four different satellite systems. It also has a button (top right) for optimized viewing on mobile devices.

[1] Details:
The "truth time" of the MODIS satellite data will depend on when the satellites with the MODIS sensor (Terra and Aqua) pass over the fire scene. From Wikipedia - Terra and Aqua are "sun synchronous", meaning they pass over any ground point twice per day, and any equatorial point at the same solar time, quantized by the fact that there are only about a dozen orbits per day, so the closest pass may be east or west of you - your nearest pass will be about +/- 1 hour of the "ideal" time. Terra passes over the equator at 10:30 PM descending, so about 10:20 PM over Woolsey. The prior pass is 10:30 AM ascending, or 10:39 AM over Woolsey. Aqua crosses around 1:30 AM/PM. For more detail, see: Terra Track Aqua Track

Edited by rafowell (11/12/18 12:02 AM)
A signal mirror should be backup for a 24 hr, all-weather radio distress signal, such as a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB)

#291065 - 11/12/18 01:55 AM Re: California Wildfires- Nov. [Re: TeacherRO]
Pete Offline

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1360
"Id say a few controlled burns are in order"

its essential.
i dont know how political it is. its the one strategy that might save California at this time. best done in winter. i hope they go ahead with it.

thanks for the comment.

Edited by Pete (11/12/18 01:55 AM)

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