In the late afternoon on 23 June 2018, the Pawnee Fire in Northern California initiated and has now spread to 11,000+ acres. As of this morning 26 June 2018, the fire is located a few miles north of Clearlake, CA and has forced thousands of people to evacuate the area, where 20+ structures have been destroyed. The fire is currently 5% contained and the cause of the fire is still under investigation. Additionally, Northern California is currently experiencing ‘D-0’ drought conditions (abnormally dry conditions), according to the US Drought Monitor. The latest California drought conditions can be seen below.
Polar-orbiting satellite imagery observed the Pawnee Fire, along with the Lions Fire, nearby. One of the polar-orbiting satellite products, the Near-Constant Contrast (NCC), illuminates atmospheric features and senses emitted and reflected light sources during the nighttime. The following two NCC images show the ‘Morning Before’ and the ‘Morning After’ the Pawnee Fire started. The first NCC image (shown below) is taken at 0948Z (0248 local time), 23 June 2018. Notice the emitted city lights along Northern California, and no discernible fires in the area.
Morning Before – 23 June 2018
The second NCC image is taken at 0928Z (0228 local time), 24 June 2018. Notice the emitted lights produced from the two fires, seen within the two red circles. The Pawnee Fire is located in the top-left part of the image, and the Lions Fire in the bottom-right part of the image. Areal extent of both fires can be inferred from the satellite imagery, wherein thousands of acres have been burned. Also notice the uniform, fog and low stratus clouds, along the California coast.
Morning After – 24 June 2018
The 3-5 day forecast for the area, is projected to be in the upper 80’s (air temperature), sunny, dry, with light to moderate winds, that could amplify the fire even further. More details on the Pawnee Fire can be accessed via the following link and via Inciweb website.