Smoke rolled across Star Valley this afternoon. Also there was a report of a brush fire near Crow Creek. However the smoke experienced today originated from fires well west of our area.
|Afton Cam midday
Afton Cam late afternoon
The GOES 16 satellite vividly displayed the large area of smoke tracking eastward across Southern Idaho into Western Wyoming.
|GOES satellite photo taken later Thursday afternoon
Another of the GOES 16 sensors is able to pick up hot spots associated with ongoing fires. The one taken late this afternoon provides a dramatic depiction of the active fires today.
The bright red returns are where the hottest fires are located. The most obvious big fire is the Cinder Butte Fire in Eastern Oregon and the primary source of Star Valleys smoke today. This fire in 3 days has grown to 56,000 acres with no containment. Another large fire is the Lava Flow fire west of Idaho Falls. While it has grown to 22,000 acres in 3 days it appears to be a secondary source of our smoke and the satellite hot spot is not nearly as well defined as the one in Oregon and those to the north in Western Montana and Northern Idaho.
The very moist Winter and Spring in the Western States is just a memory and the past two months have proven to be quite dry in the Northwest states.
The above chart shows most of the area where the current fires are located has had 2 dry, very warm months. All that growth that resulted from the wet winter are now providing fuels for fires as they have rapidly dried.
The outlook for August is not encouraging. It is forecast to be warmer and drier than normal over much of the Northwestern U.S.
Therefore it appears that smoke will be an issue in the skies around Western Wyoming for some time.