May 242014
 

I haven’t posted for nearly a month. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that dry, windy conditions just aren’t that interesting. Their normal for this time of year and we should expect it. Second, I have had a couple of long international trips in the last month. One for business. One for pleasure. I’m thinking about moving the blog to WordPress.com, or Wunderground.com. It would save me some money and time. We’ll see.

I thought about blogging about the Slide Fire over the last few days, but haven’t for two reasons. First, I drove to Phoenix for work on Tuesday night. So, I haven’t experienced the events related too it. It sounds quite uncomfortable. Ash falling from the sky and smoke filling your lungs must stimulate our most basic survival instincts. Second, I couldn’t make heads or tails out of what was really happening. A particular friend provided the clearest details. But, on Wednesday, I heard conflicting stories about Kachina Village all day long. As well, I couldn’t figure out where to point people for the best information on the fire. I’m still wondering today.

I think the Inciweb site for the Slide Fire is the most up to date, but even this morning the most recent update is 12 hours old. And, that update doesn’t add much information.

Good news, bad news. Good news, temperatures and winds have dropped while moisture has increased. Bad news, this could cause thunderstorms. These thunderstorms may produce lightning without much rain. That could cause more fires in the area.

Hats off to the teams fighting the fire. Seems like this could have been much worse. Their skill and courage protect us.

 Posted by at 8:33 am

Campfire Safe Zone

 Fires  Comments Off
Apr 302011
 

From Campfires Limited:

We, at Campfires Limited, are pleased with the Forest Service’s creation of a “safe zone” banning campfires permanently in a large area including Schultz Pass and forest lands on the eastern and southern sides of the mountain. Although it is not the May 1 to monsoons ban that we wanted, we count it as a welcome victory, one which probably came only as a result of all of our letters and efforts by the editorial board of the Arizona Daily Sun. It came too late to save the Schultz burn area, but this campfire ban will offer an increased degree of safety for the City of Flagstaff and for those of us who live in North Peak, Macann, Timberline and Wupatki Trails. We hope that we can convince the Forest Service to increase this “safe zone” to include other areas on the east and west sides of the Peaks. We would like to see the mountain better protected.

Campfires Limited will continue to push for our proposed seasonal campfire ban as well as other ways to keep our forest and community safer. We are interested in creating a citizens advisory panel to the Forest Service, in having equipment requirements (shovel, 2 gallons of water and detergent) for those who choose to have campfires, in having citizen volunteer patrols, in assuring large fines for having illegal campfires, in initiating a mandatory campfire ban on Red Flag warning days, and in having the ranger stations staffed on weekends when the forest gets the most use.

We will try to initiate a working relationship with the Forest Service, one in which the voices of the people who live here are heard and given more weight. It is sad that the Forest Service is seen by many to be the enemy, when together we have the ability to help each other and make this a better safer place to live and recreate.

To all of you who have written letters to the Forest Service, keep ‘em coming!  Bombard them with your good ideas. Keep sending your letters to the editor of the local paper, which will keep our campaign in the public eye.  Remember this is our forest, and the Forest Service works for us.

Campfires Limited
campfiresltd@hotmail.com

From Arizona Daily Sun: Campfires Banned in Dry Lake Hills

 

 Posted by at 6:54 am
Mar 142011
 

I mentioned a new project the other day. While it is still under construction, it is up, running and fully functional. It related to last year’s Schultz Fire, and helping prevent it from happening again.

Summer 2010 - Schultz Fire

Summer 2010 - Schultz Fire

I have been working with the folks at Campfires Limited to produce a website. The main goal of the site is to raise awareness of the proposed ban to campfires in the Coconino National Forest from May 1 until the monsoonal rains are well established. There are pages for contacting the National Forest Service and the Coconino National Forest to send your support for the ban. Please, visit the site and provide your support for the ban.

I think more content is needed for the site. If you would like to help provide content or links, please contact me or email Campfires Limited. Don’t forget, there is a campfire ban poll running in the right margin of this page.

Coconino County is holding a series of meetings to assist residents “with addressing the impacts from the on-going flooding and flood risks to your family, homes and property.” These meetings are being held in the next few weeks, and the schedule is shown below. They ask that you attend on the meeting for your area. More information is available at: http://www.coconino.az.gov/schultzfloodinformation.aspx?id=23604.

Meeting 1: Monday, March 28 from 7 – 9pm
Kevin’s Way, Daniel Way, North Copeland, Buckboard and Glodia areas

Meeting 2: Tuesday, March 29 from 7 – 9pm
Wupatki Trails, Brandis, Girls Ranch and Fernwood areas

Meeting 3: Wednesday, March 30 from 7 – 9pm 
Doney Park, Slayton Ranch and McCann areas

Meeting 4: Saturday, April 2 from 10am – 12pm
Zady, Alice, Linda and Paintbrush areas

Meeting 5: Saturday, April 2 from 1 – 3pm 
Hutchison Acres, Immediately east of Hwy 89 and Elden Springs
(Desert View, Lilac, Soaring Eagle, Onika) area

All meetings will be held at:
Sinagua Middle School
3950 East Butler Ave., Flagstaff 86004

The timing on getting information to people in the areas affected by potential flooding this summer is very important. Please, spread the word. The information is also available here: http://www.coconino.az.gov/schultzfloodinformation.aspx?id=23604.

For those interested in the weather, it looks like we are moving into a warmer, drier, but occasionally windier time. Temperatures should continue above normal for the week, but dry southwest winds will be the rule for the week. There is a slight, very slight, chance for some precipitation later this week and into the weekend. There are high chances for early next week, and maybe beyond.

 

 Posted by at 6:45 am
Mar 062011
 

Schultz Fire - 2010
Schultz Fire – 2010

This was one of the more distressing sights of my 15 years in the Flagstaff Area. And, I believe it was totally preventable.

The Arizona Daily Sun reported on a grass roots campaign to ban fires in the Coconino National Forest from May 1 until the monsoon rains begin in the summer. Who hasn’t had this thought?

On Monday, as we enjoy the spring winds whipping up the area. Give it some thought.

I think we will only see winds on Monday, may be a light shower or snow shower.

 Posted by at 7:40 am
Jul 042010
 

As a result of the Schultz fire, there is an enhanced risk of flash flooding in the burned areas and to the east of these areas. The National Weather Service is seeking additional spotters in the area.

Rainfall Spotters Needed for Schultz Fire Area

Rainfall Spotters Needed for Schultz Fire Area

From the National Weather Service Flagstaff:

Hydrologic Outlook

HYDROLOGIC OUTLOOK
AZZ015-092300-

HYDROLOGIC OUTLOOK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FLAGSTAFF AZ
230 PM MST FRI JUL 2 2010

...SCHULTZ FIRE BURN AREA INCREASES RISK OF FLASH FLOODING...

IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE SCHULTZ FIRE...THE BURNED AREA AND THE AREA
EXTENDING EASTWARD TO HIGHWAY 89 IS MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO FLASH
FLOODING AND DEBRIS FLOWS. THIS INCLUDES THE HUTCHINSON ACRES AND
TIMBERLINE NEIGHBORHOODS. RISES IN WATER LEVELS DURING SUCH EVENTS
MAY OCCUR MORE RAPIDLY AND MAY BE SIGNIFICANTLY GREATER THAN THOSE
PRODUCED PRIOR TO THE FIRE. THE GREATEST POTENTIAL FOR FLASH FLOODS
AND DEBRIS FLOWS WILL LIKELY BE IN AND NEAR THE MINOR DRAINAGES
EXTENDING EASTWARD FROM THE BURN.

A SHORT PERIOD OF MODERATE RAINFALL ON A BURNED WATERSHED CAN LEAD
TO FLASH FLOODS OR DEBRIS FLOWS. RAINFALL THAT IS NORMALLY ABSORBED
CAN RUN OFF EXTREMELY QUICKLY AFTER SOILS AND VEGETATION HAVE BEEN
CHARRED. CONSEQUENTLY...RUNOFF WILL BE GREATER AND MORE RAPID THAN
PRIOR TO THE FIRE. FLOOD WATERS CAN PICK UP LARGE AMOUNTS OF
ASH...SAND...SILT...ROCKS...AND REMNANTS OF VEGETATION. THE FORCE OF
RUSHING WATER AND DEBRIS CAN DAMAGE OR DESTROY
CULVERTS...BRIDGES...ROADWAYS...AND IN SOME CASES
BUILDINGS...POTENTIALLY CAUSING INJURY OR DEATH.

RESIDENTS IN FLOOD PRONE AREAS BETWEEN THE BURN AREA AND HIGHWAY 89
SHOULD HAVE AN EMERGENCY KIT AND A PLAN TO EVACUATE. IF ROADS ARE
BLOCKED OR IT IS UNSAFE TO EVACUATE /DUE TO FLASH FLOODING...DEBRIS
FLOWS...HEAVY RAIN...OR POOR VISIBILITY/ IT IS BEST TO SHELTER IN
PLACE IN A STURDY STRUCTURE. CALL 911 IF YOU ARE CAUGHT IN A FLASH
FLOOD OR DEBRIS FLOW. IF YOU ARE IN A VEHICLE...DO NOT DRIVE INTO
FLOOD WATERS OR DEBRIS FLOWS.

WHEN THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ISSUES A FLASH FLOOD WATCH FOR THE
SCHULTZ BURN AREA...IT MEANS THAT FLASH FLOODING IS POSSIBLE IN YOUR
AREA. YOU SHOULD START PLANNING FOR POSSIBLE EVACUATION IF YOUR AREA
IS PRONE TO FLASH FLOODING.

WHEN THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ISSUES A FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR
THE SCHULTZ BURN AREA...IT MEANS THAT FLASH FLOODING IS ALREADY
OCCURRING OR WILL OCCUR VERY SOON. DO NOT DELAY TAKING PROTECTIVE
MEASURES EVEN IF RAINFALL IS LIGHT AT YOUR LOCATION. ONCE RAINFALL
BECOMES HEAVY...EVACUATION ROUTES MAY BECOME IMPASSIBLE.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS RELATED TO THE CONTENT OF THIS
PRODUCT...PLEASE CONTACT

GEORGE HOWARD
WARNING COORDINATION METEOROLOGIST
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE - FLAGSTAFF
928-556-9161 X223
GEORGE.HOWARD@NOAA.GOV

$$

TC/GFH

VISIT WEATHER.GOV/FLAGSTAFF FOR OFFICIAL WARNINGS AND FORECASTS.
 Posted by at 6:35 pm
Jun 252010
 

Temperatures stayed elevated last night as the moisture from the south made it to Northern Arizona. Dewpoints have been boosted to the low 30’s. This should help with the Schultz Fire. But, the National Weather service is forecasting only isolated, dry thunderstorms…with lightning.

But, I am starting to wonder as I look at this mornings sky, and the precipitable water and dewpoint maps from NWS-Tucson. Both would point to a decent chance of rain today. It’s all about timing. The southwest winds are expected to kick in again today. As you can see, there is another band of dry air to the southwest, waiting to move into area.

This weekend should be warm and dry. The next moisture plume looks to arrive mid to late next week.

Dewpoint 6-25-2010

Dewpoint 6-25-2010

Total Precipitable Water 6-25-2010

Total Precipitable Water 6-25-2010

 Posted by at 6:43 am

Back Burn Near Flagstaff

 Fires  Comments Off
Jun 242010
 

Schultz Fire - Back Burn

Schultz Fire - Back Burn

Fire Fighters set a back burn around Schultz Tank around lunchtime today. Many people were concerned at the abrupt smoke plume.

 Posted by at 2:05 pm
Jun 232010
 

High pressure moving into the right position for drawing moisture up from the south. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the moisture will make it up to Flagstaff this week. Here is a picture showing hoe the position of the high pressure drives moisture around to the north into the Southwestern US. More information can be found on my Monsoon Mechanics website.

Early Monsoonal Flow

Early Monsoonal Flow

For the Schultz Fire, the winds have shifted to being out of the north this morning. This should change back to the southwest and clear the smoke out of the downtown and Cheshire areas.

 Posted by at 6:40 am
Jun 212010
 

Dry southwest winds are on tap for the area again today. Not good for fire fighting.  It looks like the first dose of monsoonal moisture will be on it’s way Thursday, but it may not make it all the way to the Flagstaff area. But, the winds should slowly die down over the next few days. But, that will come with warmer temperatures as we head towards normal, to above normal temperatures

For today, I think the dewpoint forecast map tells the tale: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/twc/monsoon/td700mb.php

On a nice note, the days were warm and the nights were cool at Lake Powell over the weekend. Remember not to park too close to the water and leave your car for several days. We watch many cars get towed from the parking lot near Wahweap Marina. Both sets of tires were in the water on them, and one car had it’s front end in the water. The water level went up over 3 feet in the last week. The rate is slowing, though.

 Posted by at 6:51 am
Jun 202010
 

UPDATED: Photos from about 4PM minutes before Highway 89 was closed. Tonight flames are visible from downtown Flagstaff. The smoke has a red-orange glow to it. More pictures here: http://stu-in-flag.net/schultzfire/

From the entrance to the national forest, north Flagstaff on 89

Top of the Pass on the east side of the Peaks - 89

In the smoke, starting to head downhill to Timberline

On Highway 89, in Timberline Area

Looking back to northwest after coming through the smoke

Heading up 4th Street in Flagstaff

 Posted by at 9:17 pm
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