Corral Complex, Butler Fire, and Salmon River Complex - Air Quality Report
Incident: Salmon River Complex Wildfire
Yesterday, August 23, 2013
Fuels lost no time drying out in response to the offshore trough influence that pushed dry south/southwest flow up through the area. Fire activity on the Corral Complex , which has only indirect line surrounding its perimeter, was in full swing on its active flanks by late afternoon. Relative humidities dove down to the high teens and low twenties and a large spot fire on its western flank became well established at about 300 acres, advancing the fire’s progress toward the Hoopa reservation. Air quality at all stations in the immediate vicinity responded accordingly; to the west, Somes Bar, Orleans, Hoopa, and to a lesser extent Willow Creek measured 24-hr averages that peaked in the moderate range late afternoon to early evening. Downwind to the northeast, Fort Jones and Yreka skirted the edge of the main column but were also recording values in the moderate range as transport winds carried smoke on to eastern Oregon. On the bright side, in concert with a strong push from the marine layer the smoke from Corral overshadowed and helped subdue activity on the Butler Fire. Burnout operations on the Salmon River Complex brought low-intensity fire down Jackass Ridge adjacent to the monitor, and one-hour values peaked into the 100s by midday, with the 24-hr average already back into the Unhealthy range by late afternoon. However, the 1-hr avg at Sawyers Bar was back to ‘Good’ by nightfall. As we sent smoke up into eastern Oregon, Gasquet, Happy Camp and Crescent City received reciprocal impacts in the west.
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Southwesterly flow will dominate the weather pattern and with it, an increasing chance of clouds and moisture appearing over the general geographic area of the fires this afternoon. Currently the Corral Complex is the only Northern California fire with enough life left in it to generate significant smoke, and overnight precip may mitigate strong inversions that would trap smoke in the canyons and valleys. Maximum values recorded at the monitors will depend on the degree to which any cloud cover will hold smoke in at the same time that any precip may clear smoke out. Happy Camp may once again catch a whiff from Oregon.
Outlook for Sunday and beyond
On Sunday, cloud cover and chance of precip will abate through the day. Monday should bring a return to a warm and dry trend of afternoon fire activity and nighttime inversions that lift out during daytime heating in a predictable diurnal pattern.