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jdallen

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Arctic Wildfires
« on: April 14, 2015, 12:13:48 AM »
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jdallen

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2015, 09:53:38 PM »
More from Robert Scribbler.  It appears it's more than just the grass burning.  Permafrost has melted and dried out sufficiently that we're already seeing large-scale peat fires.

https://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/the-dry-land-burned-like-grass-siberias-road-to-a-permaburn-hell/
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jdallen

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wili

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2015, 10:32:30 PM »
Thanks for linking these important and frightening stories, jda. Some really horrific clips and images in those links, among them this wall of fire:



And here's another relevant post: Russian Ecologists Warn Summer Could See Repeat of Devastating 2010 Wildfires – or Worse

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/arts_n_ideas/news/article/russian-ecologists-warn-summer-could-see-repeat-of-devastating-2010-wildfires–or-worse/519338.html

(Thanks to dtlange for this link.)
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jdallen

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2015, 10:58:23 PM »
You are welcome.  I think these may portend nearly as much about climate change as the shrinking ice in the arctic does.

Siberia is a very large place.
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jdallen

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jai mitchell

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2015, 05:23:19 AM »
Linked from Climate Crocks.

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jai mitchell

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2015, 05:28:55 AM »
The drying and burning of 500+ Gigatonnes contained in Boreal peat is a significant uncertainty in future carbon cycle feedback runs.  With last year's Canadian peat fires and this new development I think we can reasonably assume that boreal peat will become non-existent by 2050.
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jdallen

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2015, 07:31:49 AM »
The drying and burning of 500+ Gigatonnes contained in Boreal peat is a significant uncertainty in future carbon cycle feedback runs.  With last year's Canadian peat fires and this new development I think we can reasonably assume that boreal peat will become non-existent by 2050.
That will depend on how/if precipitation paterns change.  If it stays wet enough (say, by way of increased atmospheric H2O increasing arctic and sub-arctic rainfall), then there may be some hope.  It may be that sufficient ground water will prevent a complete burn off.

There's not much to stop seasonal burns however.  Once you get to 17-20 hours+ per day of insolation, you're going to dry things out pretty fast.  It then becomes only a question of how much O2 can get to the carbon. 

I'm wondering if we might actually see some of last year's fires pick up where they left off... having not completely been put out, but just "banked" by the season until the turf around/above them dried out sufficiently to permit them to fully reignite.
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Tor Bejnar

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2015, 05:03:05 PM »
Even what I think of as damp climates have peat fires. Peat Fires in Indonesia
Quote
“During the last three months, our village has had rain only three times. Peatlands are really dry and they burn easily,” he told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.
...
“But within only days, they burned again. It seemed that the fires had continued to spread under the soil surface,” he said.
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jdallen

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2015, 06:01:55 PM »
Even what I think of as damp climates have peat fires. Peat Fires in Indonesia
Quote
“During the last three months, our village has had rain only three times. Peatlands are really dry and they burn easily,” he told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.
...
“But within only days, they burned again. It seemed that the fires had continued to spread under the soil surface,” he said.
True enough Tor.

That said, I think it may depend on where and when.  For example, Jakarta gets well under a meter of rain per year, distributed asymmetrically:

http://www.worldweatheronline.com/Jakarta-weather-averages/Jakarta-Raya/ID.aspx

However, compare that to Dublin, and you have 15-20% more rain, more evenly distributed, with much less over all heat.

So much depends on distribution, heat and time.  Your example still doesn't bode well for the Arctic.
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Tor Bejnar

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2015, 06:58:11 PM »
Quote
Your example still doesn't bode well for the Arctic.
  I intended my example to support the meme that Arctic peat fires should be expected, even if there is more rain due to higher humidity (and, therefore, rain)edit
Quote
Jakarta gets well under a meter of rain per year
  I rather expected Jakarta to get more than 0.75 meter of rain per year! (I should have drawn from the fact that it didn't rain during my two day stay there in 1981.)  Regardless of their annual rainfall, Indonesia's peat swamp forests used to not burn because they were swampy, and now they aren't during the dry season partly due to agricultural practices and partly from drier dry seasons, I surmise, (e.g., -Wenhong, 2007).
« Last Edit: April 20, 2015, 08:04:38 PM by Tor Bejnar »
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jdallen

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2015, 07:40:06 PM »
I think you are correct on both points, Tor.

Let us hope for some increase in subarctic precipitation so it doesn't All burn.
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jdallen

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Wildfire tracking links
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2015, 05:45:45 PM »
US Wildfire tracking
http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/

Mapping (includes Canada and Alaska)
http://activefiremaps.fs.fed.us/

Report for above:
http://www.nifc.gov/nicc/sitreprt.pdf

Canadian sites:
http://cwfis.cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/report

Hotspots (from above site)
http://cwfis.cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/maps/fm3?type=tri

Russia - Emergencies ministry site
http://en.mchs.ru/

Chinese site (limited utility)
http://english.forestry.gov.cn/index.php/topics/forestry-public-security
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jdallen

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2015, 05:31:33 PM »
Burn starting in northern British Columbia; unusual heat, low rainfall, low humidity.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/little-bobtail-lake-fire-burning-over-8-000-hectares-1.3073457
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2015, 06:40:42 PM »
And a picture from on high:


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jdallen

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2015, 11:35:55 PM »
Nice, Jim.  In another week or so I expect to start seeing lots of fire starting; in particular, in the Mackenzie drainage and Eastern Alaska where the heat is currently landing.
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jdallen

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Tor Bejnar

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2015, 07:19:07 PM »
Coal seam fires burning in Alaska
Quote
The Alaska Division of Forestry is monitoring two, and possibly three, coal seam fires that popped up near Healy as a result of the recent hot, dry, windy weather.
But this is not a new occurrence:
Quote
The fire is in an area that has burned several times from previous coal seam fires and no structures are threatened, he said.  “It’s burning within a fire scar within a fire scar within a fire scar,” is how Mr. Majors put it.
edit:  Healy, AK is not quite in the Arctic as it is south of Fairbanks.
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jdallen

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Jim Hunt

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2015, 01:33:34 AM »
More fires by the look of it:

http://1.usa.gov/1F1UNJ3
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Yuha

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2015, 11:17:05 AM »
Fires are burning around the Great Slave Lake again. The brown areas in the image are scars from last year's massive fires.

Note that despite the somewhat realistic colors, this is a false color image using the bands 7-2-1, which is great for fire spotting.

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2015, 09:29:58 PM »
At least it isn't as bad as the Moscow fires a couple of years back. I really hope it doesn't get that bad.


].

Note that despite the somewhat realistic colors, this is a false color image using the bands 7-2-1, which is great for fire spotting.

A great band - I use it for off track hiking route planning.
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jdallen

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2015, 03:06:18 PM »
Major fire, almost arctic:

Crews From Lower 48 Race to Rampaging Wildfire Near Anchorage, Alaska
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/crews-lower-48-race-rampaging-wildfire-near-anchorage-alaska-n375366
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jdallen

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #25 on: June 23, 2015, 02:44:41 AM »
« Last Edit: June 23, 2015, 02:50:34 AM by jdallen »
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jdallen

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #26 on: June 27, 2015, 09:01:48 AM »
Cross post.  Smoke over the Beaufort:

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #27 on: June 28, 2015, 11:17:58 PM »
Fires all across Canada.  Alaska had some rain, might have helped, but currently 319 active fires burning.

http://activefiremaps.fs.fed.us/?extent=canada

http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4314/
FNORD

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #29 on: June 30, 2015, 08:51:52 AM »
According to Huffington Post:

"Officials say this is one of the worst fire seasons they've seen in Alberta over the past five years, and that 1,145 fires have been recorded since the start of the season."

Those fires have burned through 132,839 hectares of land."


With lots of photo's.


http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/06/29/wildfires-alberta_n_7690662.html


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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #30 on: July 01, 2015, 12:44:29 AM »
Forest and grass fires could actually sequester some carbon as char coal. Like e.g. Ukrainian chernozem soil, which is very fertile and seems to contain lots of reside of charred grass. Natural terra preta! - But that depends on fire density and frequency: The forest/savanna needs a chance to regrow and cover the char with soil.

But that's just my theory. Is there more such theory or numbers out there?

jdallen

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #32 on: July 05, 2015, 09:52:58 PM »
AK fire management facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/AK.Forestry?fref=nf
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Paddy

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #33 on: July 06, 2015, 06:37:10 PM »
Canadian wildfires have seen 1.4 million hectares burned in the year so far up to 1st July, nearly half of it in the last week (see this graph for a week by week comparison).  The prognosis isn't looking great either:

Quote
Nationally, fire danger in western and northern Canada is expected to remain very high this week, while Manitoba to Atlantic Canada is expected to remain at moderate to low fire danger. The area to watch this week is the Northwest Territories where the extreme conditions are expected to persist. With fire suppression resources becoming increasingly limited, national resources may not be sufficient for anticipated wildland fire activity.

EDIT: Found a daily report as well.  Canada now has 2.3 million hectares burnt as of the 6th of July.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 12:21:29 PM by Paddy »

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #34 on: July 07, 2015, 11:13:31 PM »
What was the title....(Fire) Storms of our Grandchildren....?

"By Monday morning, one in every 100 Saskatchewanians was fleeing from fire, with as many as 50 communities turned into ghost towns almost overnight. It's the largest single movement of people in the Wheat Province since the building of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, and according to the Red Cross, it's the largest evacuation they're ever seen."

http://www.thestarphoenix.com/Forest+fires+disaster+historic+proportions/11194028/story.html

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #35 on: July 08, 2015, 04:31:32 PM »
International assistance has started to arrive in Canada, with (an unspecified number of) firefighters coming from New Zealand and Australia.

EDIT: As of the 8th of July, hectares burnt has now increased to 2.6 million in Canada, 1.5 million in the USA.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2015, 10:31:36 PM by Paddy »

jai mitchell

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #36 on: July 09, 2015, 06:34:37 PM »
International assistance has started to arrive in Canada, with (an unspecified number of) firefighters coming from New Zealand and Australia.

EDIT: As of the 8th of July, hectares burnt has now increased to 2.6 million in Canada, 1.5 million in the USA.

Arctic wildfires have turned into a truly global event.  This should wake up a lot of people to the significance of this year's arctic warming.
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Jester Fish

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #37 on: July 10, 2015, 01:29:39 AM »
One can always hope but I am not holding my breath. 

Paddy

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #38 on: July 10, 2015, 12:08:37 PM »
Yep, things aren't going to get better all that fast.  There's been a big spike in the weekly area burned, with 1.2 million hectares in Canada going up in smoke last week (4th graph down; this is four times the average area for the time of year).  According to the latest weekly report, the fires in western provinces may be suppressed a bit by rain over the weekend, but this is only expected to be a very temporary effect:

Quote
The ridge that brought hot and dry weather into British Columbia is flattening as a series of weak upper lows cross along the 60th parallel. These are generating showers and thundershowers in Yukon and the Northwest Territories and northern regions of the provinces. Rainfall amounts will be highest in the mountainous parts of the territories. This pattern also will create difficult suppression as winds will shift direction and strength often. A deeper trough becomes established along the Pacific coast on the weekend and begins providing more regular rainfall and cooler air to British Columbia and Alberta. This moister pattern extends east into Saskatchewan by Monday (July 13), but runs into a wall there as ridging remains in place from Manitoba through western Quebec. Atlantic Canada receives rain as a trough regains a hold in the region.

Nationally, fire danger in western may decrease briefly over the weekend but will likely return to very high next week. Fire danger is also expected to increase from Manitoba to western Quebec. Fire danger throughout Atlantic Canada is expected to be low. The area to watch this week is British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan where the fire activity will likely remain high. With fire suppression resources limited, national resources may not be sufficient for anticipated wildland fire activity. Personnel from National Defense are supporting firefighting efforts in Saskatchewan, and international resources are being arranged to support British Columbia and Alberta.

International assistance continues, with 62 firefighters arriving from Mexico.

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #39 on: July 14, 2015, 09:40:14 AM »
Wili didn't know this thread existed, and opened another one in the Consequences category. I'm posting his opening comment here:

-----

We're already approaching record-breaking territory--nearly 12 million acres in Alaska and Canada so far--and there's plenty more to burn. I couldn't find a thread on this, but there's been a lot going on, and more to come.

The smoke, soot, and ultimately CO2 can have various effects on ice melt, as well, so it seems particularly important to have a thread keeping track of not only the fires, but also their immediate and long term consequences, and the broader contexts...

To kick it off, here's something from the SkS facebook page:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/07/13/2015-is-on-pace-to-be-the-worst-year-on-record-for-alaska-wildfires-heres-why-thats-scary/

The stunning statistic that puts this year’s Alaskan wildfires in perspective

Quote
Every day they update the numbers. And every day, the number of acres burned in Alaska seems to leap higher yet again.

As of Monday, it is at 4,447,182.2 acres, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center — a total that puts the 2015 wildfire season in sixth place overall among worst seasons on record. It’s very likely to move into fifth place by Tuesday — and it’s still just mid-July. There is a long way to go.

According to the Center, 2015 is now well ahead of the rate of burn seen in the worst year ever, 2004, when  6,590,140 acres burned in 701 fires. “Fire acreage totals are more than 14 days ahead of 2004”...

But it isn’t just Alaska — even more acres have burned this year across Canada. As of Sunday, 2,924,503.01 hectares had burned in 4,921 fires — and a hectare is much bigger than an acre. In fact, it’s about 2.47 of them. Thus, some 7,223,522 acres had burned in Canada as of Sunday. In Canada, too, wildfire activity this year is well above average levels.

Overall, the 2015 Canadian and Alaskan fire seasons have seen 11,670,704 acres burned so far, based on these numbers. (Which are always growing larger.) ...

Alaska is 80 percent underlain by permafrost, and Canada is 50 percent underlain by it.

 These frozen soils now have a large number of fires burning atop them, and when permafrost thaws, it can begin to release carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, worsening global warming.
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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #40 on: July 14, 2015, 11:39:56 AM »
Hi Wili, welcome to the thread.  Good article there.

Between the North American wildfires and the Siberian ones back in spring, I'm left wondering how near we are to another northern hemisphere record on overall area burned. 

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #41 on: July 14, 2015, 11:57:45 AM »
"2,924,503.01 hectares"

Nine significant figures! These numbers are so large that they are hard to comprehend, but in more traditional units that is 1.40743203 times the area of Wales.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2015, 12:26:05 PM by pikaia »

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #42 on: July 14, 2015, 12:19:13 PM »
Yeah, I've only ever been quoting them to two s.f.

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #43 on: July 15, 2015, 05:43:48 AM »
thats just over 11,292 square miles!! (sorry i'm not used to acres and hectares, so i thought i'd try a little math too)

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #44 on: July 21, 2015, 11:06:07 AM »
Things may be getting better in Canada - their national preparedness level has dropped from five (extreme) to four (moderate -> extreme). The national preparedness in the USA is currently at 2 out of 5, meanwhile.

So far, there have been fires across the space of 5.9 million hectares* across N America this fire season (3.7 million in Canada and 2.2 million in the USA). 

* This area equates to 59 thousand square km, 14 million acres, 23 thousand square miles, West Virginia (nearest US approximation) or Croatia (nearest European approximation).

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #45 on: July 24, 2015, 12:28:26 PM »
And now the emergency preparedness level in Canada is down to 3 out of 5.  Weekly hectares burned are down to average levels.

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #46 on: August 09, 2015, 09:05:55 PM »
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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #47 on: August 10, 2015, 10:16:24 PM »

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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #48 on: August 11, 2015, 07:45:48 AM »
For Canadian wildfire smoke forecasts, - smoke drift-  based on locations of Canadian fires, bluesky has a good website updated daily

http://firesmoke.ca/forecasts/

Bluesky smoke forecasts also available for Alaska and US:

http://www.airfire.org/data/bluesky-daily/

For daily updates of the Canadian wildfire situation and stats you can look at the CIFFC - the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre

http://www.ciffc.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=25&Itemid=212

For the US wildfire situation and wildfire stats (in acres), NIFC - The National Interagency Wildfire Coordination Center has a sitrep updated daily

https://www.nifc.gov/nicc/sitreprt.pdf



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Re: Arctic Wildfires
« Reply #49 on: August 15, 2015, 10:05:20 PM »
It would be useful to know if there has been a previous correlation between significant NH wildfires and smoke coverage and late minimum in arctic melt....

It will also be interesting to watch this year as it all leads to the end of the season.  Especially for anything which looks odd late season.

What I do wonder is how they are going to look next year if this is just the opening bars of a monster El Nino.  Because, if I remember correctly, we'll see a dry winter with low snow cover and an early spring melt back in that case.

A perfect storm for wildfires and Arctic melt together.
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