Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Arizona Afire

Posted By on Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Wallow721_amo_2011157.jpg

Smoke from southeastern Arizona's Wallow Fire has drifted as far as Iowa. NASA brings us images from space.

The Weather Underground's Jeff Masters rounds up the devastation from Arizona's wildfires:


Smoke from Arizona's third largest fire on record, the massive Wallow fire, has now blown downwind over 1,000 miles to Iowa. The fire, which is 0% contained, is expected to rage full-force for at least three more days due to unfavorable weather. Hot, dry, and windy weather is predicted again today over Eastern Arizona, where NOAA has issued red flag warnings for critical fire conditions. A large trough of low pressure is anchored over the Southwest, and several disturbances rippling along this trough will bring strong southwesterly surface winds of 20 - 30 mph, with gusts near 35 mph, through Thursday. Extremely low humidities of 5 - 15% and hot summer temperatures are also expected, creating a dangerous fire weather situation. Yesterday, Luna, New Mexico, located about 50 miles northeast of the fire, had wind gusts in excess of 30 mph for 8 hours, temperatures near 80°F, and humidities as low as 12%. During the day yesterday, the fire grew from 300 square miles to 365 square miles, 30% of the size of Rhode Island. A separate fire burning in Southeast Arizona, the 163-square-mile Horseshoe Two fire, is the state's 5th largest fire on record. According to the Interagency Fire Center, 3.5 million acres have burned in the U.S. so far this year, the most on record for this early in the year—and more than double the 10-year average from 2001 - 2010 of 1.4 million acres. Extreme to exceptional drought conditions over most of Texas, New Mexico, and Eastern Arizona are largely responsible for the record fire season.

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