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Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch

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Ferguson Fire, CA

Posted On: July 20, 2018 - By: Barbra Lashbrook

The Ferguson Fire erupted last Friday, 13 July 2018 at ~2030 local time.  The fire is near Yosemite National Park, burned 22,000+ acres, and is only 7% contained, as of 20 July 2018. The cause of the fire is unknown and under investigation, while several communities have been evacuated from the area, and one fatality has been confirmed. Expected 3-5 day forecast for Central California is to be hot, hazy, with light and variable winds, that could potentially enhance the fire.

The Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) satellite and the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite – 16 (GOES-16) observed the wildfire event, identifying the areal extent of the fire (emitted lights from the fire, seen via Near-Constant Contrast (NCC)) and associated fire ‘hotspots’ (GOES-16 3.9um). NCC and GOES-16 3.9um observed the Ferguson Fire at 0941Z (0241 local time), 20 July 2018.


Note the areal extent of the fire (embedded in the white ellipse) but additionally, emitted lights from nearby towns/cities can be seen via NCC.

To discern emitted lights that are from cities/towns to emitted lights from the fire, that is where GOES-16 3.9um complements NCC. GOES-16 3.9um, not only shows the fire location, but indicates the relatively cool brightness temperatures of the fire. See the brightness temperature (degrees Celsius), sampled, in the following satellite image.

GOES-16 3.9um

As the day progressed through late morning, fire temperatures increased significantly, due to increasingly hot, ambient temperatures and dry conditions. See the brightness temperature (degrees Celsius), sampled, in the following satellite image.

GOES-16 3.9um of Ferguson Fire at 1622Z (0922 local time), 20 July 2018. 

For more updates on the Ferguson Fire, click the following link.


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