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Vegetation Index of Western USA

43.8N 120.5W

April 24th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Vegetation Index

USA – April 24th, 2013

This image shows the vegetation index of western USA and southwestern Canada. Green indicates a high index, while yellow and orange indicate a low index. Some model simulations of future vegetation changes in states such as Oregon indicate that high elevation areas of subalpine forest and alpine tundra as well as areas of shrubland will contract under projected future climate changes.

These projected vegetation changes would reduce critical habitat for many species. As species distributions change, the current associations of plant species may also be affected. Some model simulations indicate that the species composition of forests may already be changing and that the rate of change will increase during the 21st-century (click here for more information).

Smoke from Wildfires Hangs Over Idaho Mountains

45.5N 116.8W

October 5th, 2012 Category: Fires

USA – October 5th, 2012

Wildfires continue to rage in northern and western USA in early October, mostly due to lack of rain. Here, smoke from wildfires in Idaho, near the Washington-Oregon border, looms over forests and rests in the valleys between mountain ridges. Other blazes can also be observed in Washington, near the Oregon border, in the upper left quadrant, releasing smoke that blows to the west.

Wildfires Continue to Blaze Near Washington-Oregon Border in Early October

45.8N 121.9W

October 2nd, 2012 Category: Fires

USA – October 1st, 2012

Although wildfire season in the western and northern USA usually comes to a close in October, through September lack of significant precipitation inputs have led to above normal availability of fuels for wildfires across most of the northern half of the U.S. as well as California.  Here, wildfires can be seen burning near the Washington-Oregon border (click here for previous images).

Normally during this time of year fuels conditions would decline fairly rapidly across the northern tier.  This season, however, is seeing a very slow decline in nearly all fire danger indices, with that decline coming mostly in response to longer and colder nights.  In order for any significant improvement in fuel conditions to take place a sustained input of moisture would need to occur.  However, this seems unlikely at least through the middle of October.

Fires Near Columbia River in Western USA

46.1N 121.5W

September 19th, 2012 Category: Fires

USA – September 17th, 2012

Smoke from fires near the Oregon-Washington border can be observed blowing in a generally westerly direction in this image (click here for previous images of fires in western USA). The border is marked by the Columbia River, visible crossing the upper half of the image more or less horizontally. The largest fire near the river in Washington State is the Cascade Creek Fire, which has burned 6,467 acres.

Smoke in Oregon and Washington State, USA

45.9N 122.9W

September 18th, 2012 Category: Fires

USA – September 16th, 2012

Hazardous weather outlooks have been issued for central and northeast Oregon as well as south central and southeast Washington State, USA. Smoke from area wildfires (click here for previous images) will continue in portions of the forecast area today and tonight: the east slopes of the Washington Cascades, Simcoe Highlands, Eastern Columbia River Gorge of Washington, Kittitas Valley, Yakima valley, lower Columbia Basin of Washington, foothills of the blue mountains of Washington, eastern Columbia River Gorge of Oregon, north central Oregon, east slopes of the Oregon Cascades, Wallowa county, Ochoco-John Day Highlands. The smoke will become trapped under temperature inversions again after partially mixing out Monday afternoon. This will cause reduced visibility and air quality concerns.