Smoke Update 5/30-5/31 - Southwest Coordination Center
Incident: Whitewater Baldy Complex Wildfire
Updated 1400 MDT May 30, 2012
Valid through Thursday May 31, 2012
Smoke from the Whitewater-Baldy Fire Complex will primarily be terrain dominated overnight and tomorrow morning, with lighter variable winds primarily out of the north. Potential impacts can be expected down drainage of burn-out operations on the northwest section of the fire, in Glenwood, Reserve, Mogollon, and nearby communities southwest of the fire, including Silver City. During the day, smoke will be transported towards the southeast, but should remain above the surface, reducing any potential impacts at ground level.
Potentially unhealthy conditions could occur in communities near the Whitewater-Baldy Complex. Smoke impacts are likely to occur downwind and down drainage of fire activity overnight and in the early morning, including into the community of Mogollon, Glenwood and Reserve. During these conditions, people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid prolonged or heavy physical activity outdoors. Everyone else should minimize prolonged or physical activity outdoors.
Transport winds are expected to continue to blow smoke south and east of the fire on Friday, with the most significant impacts more localized in communities down drainages from planned burn-out operations. Stronger and more westerly transport winds should blow smoke further and in a more easterly direction over the weekend.
The Whitewater-Baldy fire will continue to put up visible smoke for several weeks and impacts are possible downwind of this fire. Impacts will depend on weather conditions and fire behavior. Smoke impacts are likely to continue and be more significant near the fire.
Some areas may experience periods of air quality which are Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (those with asthma, lung or heart disease, children, older adults, and recent science indicates pregnant women). Low lying areas close to ongoing fire activity may experience periods with visibility of 1.5 - 2.5 miles, which is indicative of air that is unhealthy for all groups. If heavy smoke is present, then outdoor activities should be minimized where possible and caution observed when driving in reduced visibility. Take this into consideration when deciding whether or not to participate in outdoor activities, recognizing that conditions can change quickly and these projections are based on anticipated weather conditions and fire activity.
Your eyes are your best tools to determine if it's safe to be outside. Remember: if visibility is 10 miles and up, the air quality is Good; six to nine miles, air quality is Moderate; three to five miles, air quality is Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups; one and a half to two and a half miles, air quality is Unhealthy; one to one and a quarter miles, air quality is Very Unhealthy; and one mile or less, air quality is Hazardous.
Updated information on fire activity in the Southwest can be found in the SWCC Morning Intelligence Briefing.
GENERAL SMOKE TRAJECTORIES THROUGH MONDAY JUNE 4rd, 2012 These modeled trajectories indicate potential horizontal and vertical transport of smoke away from the vicinity of the Whitewater-Baldy Complex over 24-hour periods based on smoke which might be emitted between midday and early evening each day. The top portion of each image shows the forecast horizontal transport, while the bottom portion shows the same trajectories viewed 'side-on' for a vertical perspective.
These trajectories do not account for particulate matter concentration levels resulting from smoke, nor for the amount of smoke that might be generated on the fire. Further, at this scale, fine details and local weather effects which dominate nighttime drainage of smoke into low lying areas is masked - making this suitable as a general planning tool only.