The 2011 southwest monsoon for much of New Mexico was spotty. Despite decent rainfall in the Jemez Mountains the Guacamalla Fire started during the last week of August and continues to burn as of late September. Above normal temperatures, very dry air, and slightly breezy conditions Saturday September 24th allowed for modest growth of the Guacamalla Fire by the mid to late afternoon hours. This fire has grown to 1100 acres and is visible across much of the Albuquerque and Santa Fe metro areas.
In previous examples of fires this small, the baseline GOES 3.9micron hot spot imagery tended to stand out significantly more due to its lower resolution. However, in this case the higher resolution SPoRT hybrid 3.9micron imagery and 1km MODIS imagery showed the hot spot with much great detail and it stood out well compared with the GOES 3.9micron imagery. Note the plume growth on the hybrid visible loop below.
The smoke spawned lots of questions across the ABQ twitter feed and on local media since this was in the same area where the Las Conchas Fire (the largest fire in NM history) burned earlier in the summer. Given the well defined smoke plume evident on visible satellite and public impact the ABQ NWS ran another hysplit model using the RUC and posted it to the office Facebook page.