Ute Park Fire, New Mexico

The Ute Park Fire initiated and has erupted over the past 24 hours. As of this morning, 1 June 2018, the fire has burned over 8,000 acres and is at zero percent containment, forcing mandatory evacuations. The fire is located in Ute Park, NM and is east of Eagle Nest, NM. Several structures have already been burned, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Ute Park Fire and the Buzzard Fire (that has been burning for several weeks) can be seen in an array of satellite products and imagery, below.

The Near-Constant Contrast (NCC), a derived product of the Day/Night Band (DNB), utilizes a sun/moon reflectance model to illuminate atmospheric features during the nighttime, such as emitted (i.e. wildfires, city lights) and reflected (i.e. clouds) light sources. The emitted light from both fires can be seen in the NCC product below, along with the emitted city lights. Product is at 750-m resolution and image is taken at 0818 UTC, 1 June 2018.

In complement to the NCC, the GOES-16 3.9um, infrared satellite imagery is used to identify the ‘hotspots’ of the fires. In the imagery, brightness temperature values are high, expressing over 90 degree Celsius temperatures for the Ute Park Fire. The Buzzard Fire expressed lower brightness temperature values at this timestamp. Product is at 2-km resolution and image is taken at 0817 UTC, 1 June 2018.

Both fires are seen in the CIRA-GeoColor Product as well, highlighting the smoke from both fires. Video animation is taken between 15-16 UTC, 1 June 2018.

Now where is the smoke from the fires going to go? Utilizing an experimental High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) Smoke Model, two forecast products can be used to potentially determine where the smoke is going to go. Both forecast products are the Near-Surface Smoke (expressed in micrograms per meter-cubed) and the Vertically Integrated Smoke (expressed in milligrams per meter-squared). Both products, seen below, are utilizing the 12 UTC run, valid at 00UTC 2 June 2018.

Near-Surface Smoke (below) determines the fire emitted Particulate Matter (PM2.5, also known as ‘fire smoke’) concentrations at approximately 8 meters above the ground.

Vertically Integrated Smoke (below) simulates the total PM2.5 mass within vertical columns over each model grid cell. Vertical columns are approximately 25-km above the ground. Product incorporates the smoke within the boundary layer and aloft, displaying the integral effect of ‘fire smoke’ throughout the atmosphere.

For more updates on the Ute Park Fire, click the following link.

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