McKinney Fire in California produces multiple pyrocumulonimbus clouds

July 30th, 2022 |

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, top left), Fire Temperature RGB (top right), “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm, bottom left) and Cloud Top Temperature derived product (bottom right) images [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

1-minute Mesoscale Domain Sector GOES-17 (GOES-West) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm), Fire Temperature RGB, “Clean” Infrared Window (10.35 µm) and Cloud Top Temperature derived product images (above) showed that the rapidly-growing McKinney Fire in far northern California produced multiple (5 or 6) pulses of pyrocumulonimbus (pyroCb) clouds late in the day on 30 July 2022. The coldest pyroCb cloud-top 10.35 µm infrared brightness temperatures were around -55ºC, while the coldest pyroCb Cloud Top Temperature value was -59ºC.

This wildfire burned very hot — the peak 3.9 µm infrared brightness temperature was 138.71ºC, which is the saturation temperature of ABI Band 7 detectors.

During the subsequent overnight hours, a toggle between NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images valid at 1039 UTC or 3:39 AM PDT (below) showed the bright nighttime glow and hot thermal signature of active fires around the perimeter of the large McKinney Fire burn scar.  Evacuation orders were in effect for portions of Yreta west of Interstate 5.

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images valid at 1039 UTC [click to enlarge]