2020 Fire/Smoke Impact Reports

Questions and reports related to Sierra Nevada current and forecast conditions, as well as general precautions and safety information. Trail conditions, fire/smoke reports, mosquito reports, weather and snow conditions, stream crossing information, and more.
Post Reply
User avatar
c9h13no3
Topix Expert
Posts: 798
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:19 pm
Experience: Level 1 Hiker
Location: San Mateo, CA

Re: 2020 Fire/Smoke Impact Reports

Post by c9h13no3 » Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:29 pm

rlown wrote:
Thu Aug 20, 2020 3:08 pm
Where I live, it is about 2 mile visibility and acrid. Can't even get out and walk in this. full of melted plastic smell.
98 degrees and no wind doesn't help..
East of Elk Grove.
\:D/

Now hopefully the wind doesn't shift...
smokedodge.png
You must be registered and logged in to view the files/photos attached to this post.


"Adventure is just bad planning." - Roald Amundsen
Also, I have a blog no one reads. Please do not click here.






User avatar
astrogerly
Topix Regular
Posts: 124
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:48 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Contact:

Re: 2020 Fire/Smoke Impact Reports

Post by astrogerly » Thu Aug 20, 2020 7:03 pm

Pretty sure we are cancelling out weekend plans, Fri-Sun, to Miter Basin. Smoke has been heinous in Tehachapi all day - I can't even see the mountains right and we have a direct view from our house in town. I'm bummed, but I also remember how crazy it was when we were out during the Rough Fire (before it got really, really bad... but still couldn't see Spencer from Evo Lake). With our luck it will probably clear a bit and we'd be fine, but at the same time I don't want to have my lungs burning from the smoke and not get to enjoy the amazing views (I love Miter Basin!).

User avatar
frozenintime
Topix Regular
Posts: 160
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:06 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: 2020 Fire/Smoke Impact Reports

Post by frozenintime » Thu Aug 20, 2020 8:31 pm

yup. we're considering bailing on a trip over lamarck col starting tomorrow. hard to bail without really seeing conditions on the ground, but that's a 6.5 hr drive for us!

trinity alps are surprisingly clear right now, but there's plenty of smoke (and fire) just north and east that could easily flow in with a lil shift in wind.

:thumbsdown: 2020 :thumbsdown:

User avatar
SSSdave
Topix Addict
Posts: 3093
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:18 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Silicon Valley
Contact:

Re: 2020 Fire/Smoke Impact Reports

Post by SSSdave » Thu Aug 20, 2020 9:32 pm

For those wondering about wind forecasts in particular areas, become familiar with using windy dot com. In any case the whole state away from onshore coastal breezes is likely to have some degree of poor visibility for an extended period as there are simply way way too many sources of smoke that anyone looking at the links I posted will see as obvious.

By mouse selecting given locations, the display shows a flag with data for winds at that position. The surface models the mean elevation in a 9x9 km zone thus mountains and canyons smooth out. The result is not always accurate for complex situations like the bottom of canyons or on the lee of blocking ridges but has value, especially for wind direction. The further out the forecast date, the more likely it is inaccurate.

The elevation bar adjusts the elevation above mean sea level. For altitudes below the actual ground level, it will display the value for the ground level. For instance if the altitude on a mountain is 1500 meter as in 4.9k feet if one selects anything below 1500 meters, for instance the default sea level, the model is actually showing what is at 1500 meters. If one then changes to 3000 meters, the winds would be 1500 meters above the ground level. I've been using this information a few years now that has allowed me to predict when I ought be at locations where I need calm conditions for situations like vegetation that I don't want movement of or lake waters I need to be calm for reflections.

User avatar
ClaireT
Topix Novice
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:19 pm
Experience: Level 2 Backpacker

Re: 2020 Fire/Smoke Impact Reports

Post by ClaireT » Fri Aug 21, 2020 9:59 am

The USFS BlueSky smoke forecast simulation this morning shows widespread smoke over the whole Sierra during parts of today and tomorrow, especially pushing into the southern Sierra tomorrow:
https://tools.airfire.org/websky/v2/run ... 00/#viewer

User avatar
c9h13no3
Topix Expert
Posts: 798
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:19 pm
Experience: Level 1 Hiker
Location: San Mateo, CA

Re: 2020 Fire/Smoke Impact Reports

Post by c9h13no3 » Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:12 am

ClaireT wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 9:59 am
The USFS BlueSky smoke forecast simulation this morning shows widespread smoke over the whole Sierra during parts of today and tomorrow, especially pushing into the southern Sierra tomorrow:
https://tools.airfire.org/websky/v2/run ... 00/#viewer
Yeah, I think if I had a trip planned between Shepherd's Pass and Pine Creek, I'd probably risk it if it was short (2-3 nights?). Definitely not a good time to visit the summit of Mt Goddard though, visibility ain't gonna be good. Fishing (if you're into that sorta thing) and views of the mountains around the lakes still might be enjoyable though.
"Adventure is just bad planning." - Roald Amundsen
Also, I have a blog no one reads. Please do not click here.

User avatar
brownfox
Topix Newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:01 pm
Experience: Level 2 Backpacker

Re: 2020 Fire/Smoke Impact Reports

Post by brownfox » Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:44 am

We are trying to decide if we will stick to our plans for a 2 night, 3 day trip to Lyell Canyon/Vogelsgang starting sunday. Looking at the airfire simulation, it does look like its going to be hazy. Just curious, what would others do given the current conditions.

User avatar
slamm
Topix Newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2015 1:54 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: 2020 Fire/Smoke Impact Reports

Post by slamm » Fri Aug 21, 2020 11:36 am

Backpacked SEKI 8/16–8/20, Wolverton to Cloud Canyon (via Coppermine Pass) to Josephine Lake on Glacier Ridge. Returned via Deadman Canyon and Big Bird Lake. 8/16–8/19 smoke was noticeable in the mornings but not much concern. The smoke became thick 8/19 in the evening and continued thickening through 8/20. We had planned to stay at Moose Lake on 8/20, however, with no N95 masks, we walked out instead. The smoke mildly irritated our eyes and noses. Visibility was still at least 5 miles.

I am now trying to decide if I want to return to SEKI for an early September trip. In the past, I have mitigated wildfire smoke by wearing an N95 mask. However, wearing one day and night is a bit of a drag.

User avatar
Matthew
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2016 11:56 pm
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker

Re: 2020 Fire/Smoke Impact Reports

Post by Matthew » Fri Aug 21, 2020 4:52 pm

With the current fires threatening areas I love, I've been frustrated in not finding one resource that provides maps and current satellite fire info for the entire state. Each county and government agency seems to have their own GIS that is slow, limited and frustrating.

As always, it seems that CALTOPO is the best resource: https://caltopo.com
Go to your favourite map layer, then choose the "Fire Activity" map overlay on the upper right corner of your screen.

If you select "All Satellites" you can see the burn area, and currently burning areas.
If you select "VIRRS progression" you can see the time sequence of the burning

Other options:
- add past "Fire History" - you can see where fires are re-burning recent burn areas.
- add "Wind Plot" to see the current wind direction and speed

Thanks CalTopo!

User avatar
SSSdave
Topix Addict
Posts: 3093
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:18 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Silicon Valley
Contact:

Re: 2020 Fire/Smoke Impact Reports

Post by SSSdave » Fri Aug 21, 2020 8:17 pm

brownfox wrote:
Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:44 am
We are trying to decide if we will stick to our plans for a 2 night, 3 day trip to Lyell Canyon/Vogelsgang starting sunday. Looking at the airfire simulation, it does look like its going to be hazy. Just curious, what would others do given the current conditions.


No one will want to be hiking, exerting themselves in smoky air. Smoke from nearby fires burning forest greatly effects my breathing and endurance. However there is a difference between that and when skies above are smoky and there is just the vague smell of smoke. In my case any smoke makes reasonable photography impossible. I also greatly dislike the smell of any smoke including cigarettes haha. Others with different activities in mountains may not make much about such though yes the majority of us do consider scenery a major element in why we backpack in mountains instead of just running around the block for our exercise. For instance fishermen if they don't much care about scenery or a peakbagger that is just interested in adding another summit to their list that is not into whatever views or someone that wants to test some new gear, whatever.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests