Two animations of GOES-13 satellite images — in visible light above and infrared below — show the smoke plume from the West Fork Complex fire on June 20. (Credit: CIMSS Satellite Blog)
Since my wildfire post on Thursday (Blazes Scorch the West as Critical Fire Weather Takes Hold), the situation in Colorado has become more serious. At least six wildfires are burning here today. The latest information suggests the acreage burned so far totals more than 70,000 acres.
The graphic above is an animation of images from the GOES-13 weather satellite showing the smoke plume from the West Fork Complex fire developing pyrocumulus clouds. (Check out this post from NASA's Earth Observatory for a good explanation of the phenomenon.) The top panel shows the view in visible light, and the bottom in infrared. Once again, credit goes to the awesome Satellite Blog of the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies. Check out their more detailed post about these animations.
The blaze has now grown to nearly 60,000 acres. Exacerbated by high temperature and low humidity, and driven by gusting winds, the fire is moving toward the historic town of Creede, according to the Denver Post.
Here's an astonishing photo of the blaze, taken by the Pike Hotshots and published by Wildfire Today:
Visit the Pike Hotshots Twitter page for more incredibly dramatic imagery.
As the situation warrants, I'll post further updates.