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2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Discussion related to Sierra Nevada current and forecast conditions, as well as general precautions and safety information. Trail conditions, fire/smoke reports, mosquito reports, weather and snow conditions, stream crossing information, and more.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby TehipiteTom » Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:24 am

rlown wrote:It might not matter how the wind shifts anymore. I noticed an orange glow sunset last night out my West facing kitchen window in petaluma. Come to find out it's the smoke from the Medford, OR fires is making it's way down the left coast. Totally obscured Mt St Helena which is only 20 miles away. Just gives my ankle more time to heal before i try and put it in a boot.

East side webcams look messy as well.

Smoky here in SF as well--we can barely see Angel Island, and the Marin mainland is completely gone right now.



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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby maverick » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:28 pm

Fire is now 25% contained, but has grown from 4500 acres (7/26) to 14,147 acres (7/30)
9,647 acres in 4 days. :eek:
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby Xosob » Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:24 pm

M 7/29: Very smoky/hazy up by Ediza/Iceberg/Cecile/Minaret Lakes
Tu 7/30: Not particularly smoky in Touloumne in morning, but by noon on top of Ragged Peak & on return very smoky/hazy towards Minarets.
W 7/31: Better than previous two days in Mammoth.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby jessegooddog » Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:35 pm

The sierra and inyo mountains this morning from Big Pine north to Bishop (at least) were completely hidden by the smoke. Heading south this afternoon, I could see the smoke drifting down over Onion Valley into Independence. Yesterday was very windy, not a breath today, so it's just sitting. By reports I've heard first hand, Mammoth Lakes basin still has the worst of it.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby SSSdave » Thu Aug 01, 2013 3:19 pm

A good way to see where smoke is during daylight hours is to look at the 1k vis satellite:

http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/satellite/?wfo=mtr

Running the animated version also allows a visual of which way the smoke is moving. Today the Aspen fire smoke appears to just be about the local San Joaquin River canyon areas. Likewise smoke from the fires up in Oregon are not moving south at all. It looks like much of the Sierra will be fine this weekend. I'm likely to be up in the Ebbetts area doing some closeup wildflower work playing with a new RF controlled remote shutter release on my G10.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby LightRanger » Thu Aug 01, 2013 6:29 pm

SSSdave wrote:A good way to see where smoke is during daylight hours is to look at the 1k vis satellite:

http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/satellite/?wfo=mtr

Running the animated version also allows a visual of which way the smoke is moving. Today the Aspen fire smoke appears to just be about the local San Joaquin River canyon areas. Likewise smoke from the fires up in Oregon are not moving south at all. It looks like much of the Sierra will be fine this weekend. I'm likely to be up in the Ebbetts area doing some closeup wildflower work playing with a new RF controlled remote shutter release on my G10.


It was a bit wider spread than that... I was looking at the cam facing Humphreys, Basin, and Tom from Bishop today and they went from totally obscured to merely mostly obscured. Maybe the low-lying stuff wasn't showing up on the sat image as well. Hopefully better this weekend with the pattern change and the wind mixing it out.

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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby Rockchucker » Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:25 pm

Haven't seen the mountians in 3 days, my son said it feels like he has a blanket over his head! Horrible.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby SSSdave » Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:14 am

Just looked at a bunch of Sierra web cams. Indeed the Owens Valley is moderate hazy/smoky as far north as Mammoth. Of course stale air in the Owens Valley often parks their as inversion until regional winds blow through. A bit further north Mono Lake skies appear nicely blue. Also blue skies in the Carson Valley and Tahoe. A web cam at Bear Valley looked fine too so am expecting my weekend road trip to the Ebbetts Pass area won't have issues. The general upper air flow continues to be west to east or southwest to northeast. Some chance monsoon weather may move further west again later next week. If so might try and get a backpack in about Humphreys Basin where vegetation out be near peak now.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby rlown » Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:44 am

dunno about that. look at http://bishopweather.com/

Where are the mountains? But true, it can only get better.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby SSSdave » Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:22 am

Drove up to Ebbetts Pass on SR4 late afternoon Friday. Skies were hazy blue over the Central Valley except for a thin dirty brown smoke band over the east foothills. Air over the Sierra looked hazy blue. At dawn had an unblocked view to the west and saw a more dense brown band had moved in above the Sierra foothills. At sunrise although Ebbetts Pass and areas north were hazy blue, areas just south in the Sonora Pass area and to the east over Monarch Pass looked hazy smoky. By 8am the smoky air to the south surprized me by moving north and I could smell smoke that was disgustingly unpleasant. I was working closeup wildflowers photography and not landscapes, so that had no impact on my reason for being there.

I had been in the area 4 weeks before when wildflowers were at peak which was surprising good despite the dry conditions and it appeared it would stay that way for at least a week or two longer. However the droughty conditions made quick work of green vegetation making for considerably less flowers than would be expected a couple to three weeks past peak. Grassy meadow areas are already quite dry and brown except in more permanent seep and streamside areas. After rambling about a few hours, at mid morning I decided to bail so drove home. Skies were smoky hazy until I reached Bear Valley, after which they were increasingly blue all the rest of the way home. Even the brown band over the Sierra foothills was gone.

The smoke situation was somewhat a mystery though I can speculate. One issue was why was there a band of smoke over the Sierra foothills that apparently thickened overnight? The jet stream and upper atmosphere for days has consistently been blowing west to east or southwest to northeast. Thus that flow would not have caused that smoke band as the Aspen Fire is well to the south-southeast. Lower down in the hot Central Valley, a thermal low often sets up rotating CCW. At night in stagnant air conditions in the lower and mid atmospheric levels like we have been having, the smoky air up the San Joaquin drainage sumps down canyon back towards the valley. So am guessing, plumes of sumping smoke got caught up in a thermal air circulation blowing north. Then in the morning as the valley air heats up and expands, that pushes east up canyons. Additionally smoky air at mid levels above west slopes bank up against Sierra crest areas and also may have rotated north and been helped by the upper air also moving west to east. Much of that hazy smoky air probably does not show up on the satellite until it becomes dense so I've learned another useful lesson. The current pattern is supposed to hold till the following weekend when the low off the Oregon coast is finally supposed to move east followed by more normal August weather though long range forecasts are rather speculative. Given the droughty conditions I may not have any reason to return to the Sierra till leaf season at the end of September.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby BrianF » Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:00 pm

Was up On Cirque Peak above Cottonwood Lakes on 8/3. All of the southern Sierra was smoke-free and views to the north were claer as far as I could see.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby ndwoods » Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:34 pm

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