As New Mexico enters a third consecutive year of extreme drought conditions, the wildfire season has been active once again. The Tres Lagunas Fire started on May 30, 2013 and on the afternoon of the following day a second fire, the Thompson Ridge Fire, was started. Both fires were ignited by downed power lines during strong wind events.
Satellite products received from SPoRT are very useful for graphical products that we share with partners and the general public. In the early days of the event, it’s important that the public has a heightened awareness of the locations of the fires, associated smoke impacts, and the general character of the fire. Two graphicasts that were recently posted on our home page and Facebook page are included in this post. Note that the bottom right corner is left blank for the graphicast time stamp information. Another graphicast using the VIIRS Day-Night Radiance product was previously shared on a separate blog entry.
In the first, we used the MODIS true color imagery to show the smoke plume associated with the Tres Lagunas Fire. Areas along Interstate 25 were impacted by the smoke.
By the following day, a second fire was ignited and both remained active over the weekend. The high resolution images included in SPoRT’s hybrid 3.9 μm “hot spot” loop not only provide an accurate location of the wildfire, but can illustrate differences in the character of the fire. In the example below, a continuous hot spot is associated with the Thompson Ridge Fire. However, the Tres Lagunas Fire had spread more rapidly, and had burned more acres at this time, and the hot spot imagery depicts a burn with an active perimeter. The 3.9μm image was combined with an awips topo map on awips to provide topographical references. Both of these graphicasts were also posted to Facebook, where they received higher than normal shares.