June 19, 2024

Massive New Mexico Wildfire Spawns 7.5 Mile Fire Cloud

The cumulonimbus flammagenitus cloud (CbFg), likewise called the pyrocumulonimbus cloud, is a kind of cumulonimbus cloud that forms above a source of heat, such as a wildfire or volcanic eruption, and may sometimes even extinguish the fire that developed it. It is the most severe symptom of a flammagenitus cloud.

Might 10, 2022
Periods of crucial fire weather continued to challenge the 1,800 firemens battling the blaze. Very low humidity and high winds helped spread the fire through dry grass, brush, and trees. Regular gusts reaching 65 miles (105 kilometers) per hour avoided aerial firefighting efforts, consisting of water drops and the dispersal of flame retardant.

On May 10, 2022, the northern part of the fire produced a pyrocumulonimbus cloud (pyroCb). These vertical plumes, created by the heat from a wildfire, can loft smoke and particulates high into the stratosphere. The pyroCb can be seen in the above natural-color image, which was obtained by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASAs Aqua satellite on May 10.
Scientists at the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies measured a cloud-top temperature of -75 ° F( -59 ° C ). This suggested that the cloud had actually reached the tropopause, the boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere at an altitude of about 7.5 miles (12 kilometers).
” This is considered to be a small pyroCb,” stated Mike Fromm, a meteorologist with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. “The significance is that it is still early in the fire season, so any indication of such a blowup tells us to be on high alert for more and larger pyroCb occasions.”
The Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak fire complex formed when 2 smaller sized fires merged on April 22-23. The Hermits Peak fire had started as a recommended burn in part of the Santa Fe National Forest on April 6, but unpredictable, gusty winds blew it out of control. The cause of the Calf Canyon fire, which began on April 19, is still being examined.
Several other big fires likewise continued to burn across New Mexico in mid-May. The Cerro Pelado Fire burning southwest of Los Alamos National Laboratory has actually surpassed 45,000 acres and is 19 percent contained. The Cooks Peak Fire has burned 60,000 acres north of Las Vegas, New Mexico, and was 97 percent contained on May 13. Smoke from the fires has drifted north into Colorado and northeast throughout Kansas and the Midwest.
May 12, 2022
This false-color image was acquired on May 12, 2022, by MODIS-Aqua. Using shortwave infrared and noticeable light (bands 7-2-1) shows the burn scars (in red) from three significant fires burning in northern New Mexico. The biggest scar, in the center of the image, is from the Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak fire. To the west of Santa Fe is the Cerro Pelado burn scar. The scar to the northeast is from the Cooks Peak fire.
Most of the state continues to experience severe to extraordinary drought in the midst of the Southwest megadrought. New Mexico has actually had 244 fires up until now this year, burning more than 360,000 acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. That is approximately three times as much acreage as was burned in 2021, when 672 fires burned about 124,000 acres.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Lauren Dauphin, using MODIS information from NASA EOSDIS LANCE and GIBS/Worldview.

Calf Canyon Fire produces a pyrocumulonimbus cloud. NOAA-20 VIIRS True Color RGB, False Color RGB, and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images. Credit: MOAA
An enormous, early season wildfire that continues to burn in northern New Mexico produced a pyrocumulonimbus cloud.
The Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak fire continued to rage throughout northern New Mexico in mid-May 2022, entering its 2nd month. On May 13, it was the biggest fire actively burning in the United States and the second largest in New Mexicos history.
The burned area covered more than 270,000 acres east of Santa Fe and stretched 50 miles (80 kilometers) from its northern to southern perimeter in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. As of May 13, the fire was 29 percent contained, mainly on its southern border, but continued to spread out northeast. Hundreds of structures and houses were damaged, and thousands of individuals have actually been left. Evacuation orders stayed in effect in San Miguel, Moro, and Colfax counties, and have been broadened into the ski resort town of Angel Fire.

By Sara E. Pratt, NASA Earth Observatory
May 14, 2022

The Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak fire complex formed when two smaller sized fires merged on April 22-23. The Cooks Peak Fire has burned 60,000 acres north of Las Vegas, New Mexico, and was 97 percent included on May 13. The use of shortwave infrared and noticeable light (bands 7-2-1) reveals the burn scars (in red) from three significant fires burning in northern New Mexico. New Mexico has actually had 244 fires so far this year, burning more than 360,000 acres, according to the National Interagency Fire. That is roughly 3 times as much acreage as was burned in 2021, when 672 fires burned about 124,000 acres.