The National Weather Service has released some incredible photos of the wildfires impacting the western United States.
In the included photo you can see what six wildfires in Montana and Wyoming look like from space. The photos are from the MODIS satellite that snaps photos of our planet as it orbits Earth.
In the photo you can see the distinction between smoke and clouds quite clearly. In the photo, clouds look like a collection of cotton balls. They are a more true white color and limited more toward the northern half of the photo. The smoke can be identified by its grayish color, texture and shape. The prevailing winds push the smoke to drift eastward over the landscape.
This has been a very rough wildfire season so far. Colorado is seeing some astonishingly destructive fires that are encroaching on cities like Colorado Springs.
Weather obviously plays an enormous role in how wildfires act. Wind can blow embers from one fire and create a new one in an entirely different location. Low humidity keeps the atmosphere dry and primes the landscape for kindling.
Even when thunderstorms develop over wildfires it’s often a curse instead of a blessing. Dry air is able to work into the storms, so essentially all you get is gusty winds, lightning and very little rain. The wind helps fan the flames and lightning can get more going.
Though the west is known best for wildfires, we can, have and do get wildfires here. Be sure to take caution, especially with the 4th of July holiday approaching on open flames and fireworks when outdoors.
For a color coded map of all ofWisconsin’s counties that details the wildfire risk, follow this link from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ForestFire/restrictions.asp.