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Briefing from National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho

Aired August 20, 2001 - 10:15   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We want to go right now to Boise, Idaho, where they are having theuir staff meeting now at the National Interagency Fire Center. We're going to listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

LARRY VAN BUSSAM, FIRE METEOROLOGIST: ... qoutas as well, that's going to be an area to watch today. Still some breezy conditions as that wind that was over the Pacific Northwest makes it way to the east. Not a lot of precipitation associated with those thunderstorms moving through. So this is going to be an area of concern today, high Haynes Index, most of that precipitation staying to the south and some breezy conditions.

Taking a look at our water vapor real quick, again, there is that storm in the Gulf of Alaska make way south, the monsoonal moisture working way up into the four-corner states.

Moving onto our forecast map, breezy today, the area of wind making way to Idaho and into Montana later today. High pressure centered over New Mexico-Texas area, bringing some monsoon moisture into the four-corner states. We're going to have a mixed, wet, dry thunderstorms along the boundaries, into Nevada and down into western Arizona as well. Slight chance of some dry lightning along the Montana-Idaho border, and also a chance into the Dakotas and into eastern Montana as well. Not a lot of help down in Texas. I don't expect a lot of precipitation through the next several days, staying pretty dry down into Texas and Oklahoma.

And then Olympics could see precipitation moving in later today and toward this evening. In fact, I think Seattle said they're forecasting that the precipitation will move in around midnight up there.

Moving onto Tuesday, breezy conditions move off into the Dakotas in eastern Montana. Starting to get windy late in the day and toward evening, in Washington, as the system moves onshore, the high pressure has moved off to the east, down in the Southern United States, looking at the southern precipitation map. I think we're going to see that precipitation by late Tuesday going into Wednesday morning, make its way to the crest, the Cascade Crest, less precipitation as you go further south, into southern Oregon and Northern California, could see a possibility of some dry lightning strikes as this thing first starts out. Monsoon moisture pumped into the four-corner state, mixed wet-dry thunderstorms into the Arizona, New Mexico, and into Wyoming as well. Pretty good slug of moisture into Colorado and Utah. Again mixed wet- dry thunderstorms in that area. Pretty good shape out into the Great Lakes states in the Arrowhead area of Minnesota, with wet thunderstorms and wet showers moving through there. Again, no precipitation in Texas and Oklahoma, a spot to watch for the next weeks as that area try dries out and stays hot.

Moving onto Wednesday, continued windy as the system moves onshore, precipitation making way east of the crest onto Wednesday and Thursday. More of a steady rain situation as you go further north. More shower situation as you go into California, and southern Oregon.

Little bit of a rain shadow east of the Cascades. That would be the Spruce Dome Complex might not see very much rain on that fire at all into Wednesday, but I think they'll have a better shot at seeing rain into Thursday. The rain making way into the west central mountains of Idaho and into the Idaho panhandle late in the day. Mixed wet-dry thunderstorms making it's way into eastern Montana and into the Dakotas, and some mixed wet and dry thunderstorms as the monsoon moisture gets pushed the east, mainly staying in Colorado and New Mexico. Still dry in west Texas -- correction, east Texas and eastern Oklahoma.

Moving on into Thursday, drying out in the four-corner states, as that high pressure moved to the east, also drying out in California. Continued wet, windy and cool into Washington. This area of low pressure is going to make its way to the north and east, so I think we're going to see things start to dry out in Northern California into Oregon as well. Weak disturbance moving through the Dakotas coudl bring a possibility of thunderstorms to them on Thursday.

Moving into Friday, windy with possible thunderstorms all the way from Washington -- well, the thunderstorm possibility be mainly into eastern Dakotas and into Minnesota, but windy continues all the way from Washington into the Dakotas. As this trough begins to flatten out, we start to warm up and dry out, especially in California and the east Nevada, and in the Great Basin Area. Moving into the weekend, we're going to see high pressure make its way back to the west. As it does so, pumping up monsoon moisture. We will see a return of some showers and thunderstorm, especially into New Mexico and Colorado, possibly starting out with some dry strikes before they get enough monsoon moisture pumped into the area late in the weekend. Continued dry in Nevada and California.

Less winds into the northern states as we move into Saturday, but then Sunday another trough moving in, so I think we're going to see the winds pick up into Washington late in the day, and return a monsoon moisture should see more of a mix and wet and dry into Sunday.

With that, I will turn it over to Rick.

um: Thanks, Larry.

Of concern today is going to be this little area in here through Montana, just the slight chance of some dry thunderstorms, very isolated in that area there. Winds today, I have windy but it's not going to be that much wind, looking at 5-15. I think the big news is another good day in the Northwest. Temperatures are fairly mild, 75- 85 moderate humidity, 15-30 percent. So it looks like another good day over there. For Tuesday, the frontal system approaches, gets hung up along the cascades here, going to bring in rain from the cascades on the east side. There, again, we'll have another continuing chance of dry thunderstorms in through here, but the big thing is going to be the winds picking up throughout California, Nevada and the Northern Rockies here.

Right now, we're looking for winds about 15-30 miles per hour for Tuesday, but by Wednesday, we'll see gusts around 40 miles per hour, particularly windy here along the Sierra into Nevada. Look like you're going to see the lion's share of the wind with that system.

For Wednesday through Friday, the first front hung up along the Cascades. It waits for the second front, arriving on Thursday.

On Thursday, we'll see the main rain band move across northwest there, again. We're not looking for tremendous amounts for the Cascades. The bulk on the west side there.

Again, we'll have the winds Wednesday through Friday, again, from California, all the way through Wyoming and Montana. In fact, in Montana, it looks like Thursday is going to be their windy day if that system moves through there.

And looking further out this next system here is going to be developing further off in the Pacific. So this was the first big low here. The second one for next week develops further off into the Pacific. That allows the ridge to go back more over the West. And so for next week, looks like it's going to be a warm, dry pattern. Probably some monsoon moisture in the four-corner states. I don't see real hot temperatures, getting back to seasonal temperatures, but staying fairly dry.

So any questions?

QUESTION: Moisture from the Chantal?

um: I think most of that is going into Mexico. It could eventually make its way up into monsoon. That is pretty far away. So I don't think right now I see a real direct connection to our area. Okay.

NEAL HITCHCOCK, NATL. COORDINATOR CENTER MGR: Well, good morning, everybody.

Weekend was fairly busy, some new fires in California, as well as in Utah and eastern Idaho. But we've been -- had several days with the initial attack load still being manageable. We're under 300 new fires a day, and that always works in our favor. But continued severe fire behavior on many of the incidents, in Washington in particuloar.

As you run through the report this morning, I see some good signs, getting projected containment dates on a lot more of the fires, so that is indicating that resources are getting in sight, and they are getting soem work accomplished, in spite of severe conditions.

Ongoing activities are preparing for the military deployment. The crew advisers will be flying over to Fort Lewis this afternoon, and preparations for the second battalion are under way as well, which will also come from Fort Lewis, Washington.

In the northwest, again, the familiar names on the large fires. You can run through the report and read the narratives. But each day they are going through some severe burning conditions, with the winds in particular, giving them a lot of problems.

Eastern great basin, Utah in particular, picked up a couple of new fires over the weekend. Molly is the current top priority south of Provo. Alpine over in eastern Idaho, western Wyoming, on the border near there, was the other new fire that we have reported.

Into Southern California -- I'm sorry, into the northern rockies here, one new fire not on the report this morning on is in the Galatin Forest. It's called the Fredlay (ph) Fire. They're going to order a type two team for that. No estimate. I didn't get a size report on that one yesterday. Overall, Sunday not a bad day for the northern Rockies, though, as they are able to redeploy a few resources around the area. Western great basin is stable right now. Working on containment on large fire, one new one is the granite fire on the Great Basin Park, lot of emphasis is supporting the fires in Utah as they get rours available there.

Northern California is stable this morning as well, working on the large fires that I have had on the report here for about three days. Southern California, however, is where we've seen that spike of activity, with several new ones. We were talking about the music fire, where the transmission lines are an issue there. New fire on the Sequoia that's not on the report there, 120 acre, the Highway Fire. We'll have a type 22 team assigned to that. We're seeing an upswing in activity in Southern California, which gives us concern there.

Let's see, Rocky Mountain, a couple of new fires there, the one contained yesterday in a local jurisdiction fire, the Renter Draw (ph), up south of Cody there in the northwest part of the state.

Also kind of interesting, there was a 40-acre fire in the Colorado front range yesterday that was contained near Ft. Collins, Loveland area. That is one of the areas getting periodic moisture, but still prime for burning there.

Overall resources, we're starting to see pretty steady rotation of the type-two crews off of incidents, back for R&R and then becoming available, so that is sinking up pretty well with our ongoing needs. The influx of the two military battalions will help us out with that, too. We'll be able to continue to get people off the fires in a timely fashion, rested and fill in back as the crews that went out later reach time limits. Lot of demand of course for the initial attack resources here, still seeing some of that -- the smoke jumpers and helicopters and such.

Canadian helicopters coming in. That is working fine. So our resource capability is stabilized to some degree in the short-term, even though there is high demand. Hopefully, the break in the weather gives us a lot of progress this week, particularly in Washington, and keep a lid on the fires in the other areas.

So that's what we have this morning. Any questions?

Very good. We'll see you this afternoon at 3:30. Thank you.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We've been listening to a briefing there from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, not something we get to see all that often, a little dry, kind of like the conditions have been in the West, and yet it gives you an idea of how these experts come together and sit and try to figure out how they're going to take their limited resources and try to fight fires that are burning out of control across 10 Western states.

We'll hear more on that from our Jeff Flock in the hours ahead. Right now, we're going to get in a quick break,

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