Camp Fire in northern CaliforniaThe Camp Fire started around 1433 UTC or 6:33 AM local time on 08 November 2018 in Northern California; the rapid spread of the fire prompted evacuations and forced road closures. GOES-16 (GOES-East) GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm), “Clean” Infrared Window (10.3 µm) and Fire Temperature (above) showed the initial evolution of the fire at 5-minute intervals — especially noteworthy were (1) the rapid vertical jump of the smoke column at 1547 UTC, which cast a long shadow to the northwest, and (2) Fire Temperature values that exceeded 2000 K (bright red pixels) at numerous times, with a maximum value just over 2300 K.
A GOES-16 Mesoscale Domain Sector was positioned over California beginning at 2115 UTC, providing imagery at 1-minute intervals — a comparison of Visible and Shortwave Infrared images (below) showed how quickly the hot thermal signature of the fire (yellow to red enhancement) advanced southwestward during the remaining 3 hours of daylight. Just northwest of the fire, Chico (station identifier KCIC) reported very low relative humidity values (6% at 21 UTC), as seen by the large spread between temperature and dewpoint late in the day.1-km resolution NOAA-18 AVHRR Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Vegetation” (0.86 µm), Shortwave Infrared (3.7 µm) and Infrared Window (10.8 µm) images (below) showed the bifurcation of the smoke plume as well as the large, very hot thermal signature of the fire at 1712 UTC or 9:12 AM local time. Higher spatial resolution views were provided by NOAA-20 VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images (above) and by Aqua MODIS Visible (0.65 µm), Near-Infrared “Snow/Ice” (1.61 µm) and Infrared Window (11.0 µm) images (below). [Note: the NOAA-20 VIIRS images are incorrectly labeled as Suomi NPP] Alternative views of the NOAA-20 VIIRS and Aqua MODIS images are shown below (using legacy AWIPS-1).They include Shortwave Infrared images from the 2 satellites, which reveal the very large (approximately 10 miles in length) thermal anomaly or fire “hot spot”. Due to the very dry atmosphere over the region (MODIS 6.7 µm Water Vapor image), the smoke could be clearly seen on the MODIS 1.37 µm Cirrus image (since there was very little attenuation of upwelling 1.37 µm radiation by middle/upper-tropospheric water vapor). As a result of the unusual dryness air mass across the region, the 00 UTC Oakland sounding set a record low Total Precipitable Water value for the date (3 mm or 0.12 inch):
Record dry airmass over our region today. The 00Z Oakland Sounding from this afternoon reported a precipitable water value of only 0.12″. This is well below the record for the date of 0.24″ and one of the all-time driest soundings at Oakland in more than 60 years. #CAwx pic.twitter.com/Ohtg5mvsQO
— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) November 9, 2018
The Aqua MODIS Total Precipitable Water product at 2123 UTC (below) showed widespread values in the 3-5 mm range (darker shades of brown) over much or northern California. 12 hours later, the TPW value from the 12 UTC Oakland sounding was slightly lower (2.9 mm or 0.11 inch) — and the MODIS TPW product at 0921 UTC continued to show widespread dry air over California.True Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) imagery from NOAA-20 VIIRS (below) provided a good view of the smoke. A NOAA-15 AVHRR Shortwave Infrared image at 0225 UTC or 6:25 PM local time (below) depicted the very large thermal anomaly of the fire. The smoke had an adverse impact on air quality over 100 miles from the fire source: the surface visibility dropped to 1 mile at Santa Rosa KSTS and 2 miles at San Francisco International Airport KSFO (below).
===== 09 November Update =====Nighttime VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images from NOAA-20 at 0849 UTC (above) and Suomi NPP at 0942 UTC (below) revealed the bright glow and the large, hot thermal anomaly of the Camp Fire. VIIRS True Color RGB images from Suomi NPP at 2104 UTC and NOAA-20 at 2154 UTC (below) showed the broad extent of the smoke from the Camp Fire in northern California as well as the Woolsey Fire in southern California. These images were captured and processed by the CIMSS/SSEC Direct Broadcast ground station. An animation of 1-minute GOES-16 Visible and Shortwave Infrared images (below) revealed several plume jumps over the fire source from 15-19 UTC — and toward the end of the day, a decrease in the areal coverage and intensity of hot pixels indicated that extreme fire conditions were easing and containment efforts were slowing the spread of the fire. Abnormally dry to extreme drought conditions across California were a contributing factor to this and other wildfires across the state.
Paradise, CA has only seen 0.88″ of rain since May 1st. The Average rainfall between May 1st & Oct 31st is 7.13″! This is the conditions that have lead to a absolutely horrific fire known as the #CampFire #CAwx #CalFire #CaliforniaFires pic.twitter.com/CcvsMeogNq
— James Sinko (@JamesSinko) November 9, 2018
====== 11 November Update =====A sequence of Suomi NPP VIIRS Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images centered at Paradise, California viewed using RealEarth (above) showed the spread of the Camp Fire thermal anomaly (dark black pixels) during the period 1943 UTC on 08 November to 1046 UTC on 11 November.
1-minute GOES-16 Visible and Shortwave Infrared images (below) showed the development of new smoke plume and hot thermal signatures around the periphery of the ongoing Camp Fire during the day on 11 November. As of 1849 UTC (10:49 AM local time), the fire had burned 109,000 acres and was listed as 25% contained.The new smoke plume — as well as residual smoke from previous days of burning — could be seen on VIIRS True Color RGB imagery from Suomi NPP at 2029 UTC and NOAA-20 at 2114 UTC (below). The entire image swaths as captured and processed by the Direct Broadcast ground station at CIMSS/SSEC can be seen here and here. The Camp Fire claimed 85 lives, burned 153,000 acres and destroyed nearly 19,000 structures — making it both the deadliest and the most destructive wildfire on record for the state of California.