Wildfires in South Dakota

March 29th, 2021 |

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared images, with hourly surface wind barbs (cyan) and gusts (in knots, red); Interstate 90 is plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images, with hourly surface wind barbs (cyan) and gusts (in knots, red); Interstate 90 is plotted in red [click to play animation | MP4]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-16 (GOES-East) Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) displayed the thermal anomalies (clusters of hot pixels) associated with 2 wildfires burning in western South Dakota on 29 March 2021. One fire began just west of Rapid City around 1530 UTC — which forced some evacuations. A second fire began just north of Interstate 90 around 1730 UTC — which forced the closure of Interstate 90 between Kadoka and Murdo as strong northwesterly winds in the wake of a cold frontal passage (surface analyses) caused a rapid fire run to the southeast. The southern surge of cold air (lighter shades of gray) behind the cold front could also be seen in the Shortwave Infrared images; both fires began shortly before the arrival of the cold front.

Taking a closer look at the fire just west of Rapid City, a 4-panel comparison of GOES-16 Fire Temperature RGB, Shortwave Infrared, Fire Power and Fire Temperature Characterization products (below) showed that this was not a particularly large or hot fire, whose signature was sometimes obscured by clouds moving overhead.

GOES-16 Fire Temperature RGB (top left), Shortwave Infrared (top right), Fire Power (bottom left) and Fire Temperature (bottom right) [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 Fire Temperature RGB (top left), Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, top right), Fire Power (bottom left) and Fire Temperature (bottom right) [click to play animation | MP4]

===== 30 March Update =====

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Vegetation” (0.86 µm) and Day Land Cloud Fire RGB images [click to play animation | MP4]

On the following day, GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Near-Infrared “Vegetation” (0.86 µm) and Day Land Cloud Fire RGB images (above) revealed the northwest-to-southeast oriented burn scar (darker gray pixels).

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