Extreme Temperature Diary- Monday June 15th, 2020/ Main Topic: Western Fire Season Is In Full Swing…An Update

Monday June 15th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

Main Topic: Western Fire Season Is In Full Swing…An Update

Dear Diary. Once more as we have seen this century the western U.S. is in the crosshairs of building heat domes aloft leading to drought and now wildfires. The United States, as a whole, in 2020 has been fortunate not to see a severe heat wave so far in June, and the heat wave that I was anticipating to begin east of the Rockies late this week will not verify at all, which is very good news. What’s good for the East is bad news for the West, though, since any upper trough at jet stream levels ushering Canadian cool air east of the Rockies is accompanied by a ridge out West.

So far during 2020 heat domes aloft have led to this much drought across the West:

Notice that east of the western High Plains drought is not much of a problem at all.

Here is the latest guidance from the American GFS model valid for this Friday:

A cool trough will be moving through the West but will be dry as it meanders through the Southwest, stirring up wind, which will be bad news for firefighters. The upper low forecast to be over south-central Canada was previously forecast to verify over the West Coast, building an eastern ridge changing the overall weather pattern, which won’t occur.

This is the latest NWS fire weather outlook for today, Monday, which is representative of what we will be contending with for most of this week:

Here is some of the latest western wildfire news from the Arizona Republic (Click on the article link to see videos and pictures.):


Arizona wildfires: Evacuations ordered for Bush Fire; Magnum and Bighorn fires continue to burn

Helen Wieffering, Arizona Republic Published 9:23 a.m. MT June 15, 2020 | Updated 9:29 a.m. MT June 15, 2020

Multiple communities in the path of a rapidly growing fire in the Tonto National Forest were ordered to evacuate Monday.

Gila County officials issued an evacuation order to residents of Tonto Basin and Punkin Center from Highway 188 and A-Cross Road to Highway 188 at Rambo Realty because of the 14,000-acre Bush Fire. This includes residents on both sides of the highway and the creek, according to Gila County Health & Emergency Management.

The American Red Cross was opening a shelter at the Lee Kornegay school for those evacuated.

Fire crews were also working to contain two other wildfires in opposite corners of the state. 

Near Tucson, hotshot crews were able to gain 22% containment of the 13,200-acre Bighorn Fire in the Santa Catalina Mountains. 

The Mangum Fire has burned for over a week near the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, overtaking nearly 20,000 acres in the Kaibab National Forest with 2% containment as of Monday.

Bush Fire

The Bush Fire burns northeast of Phoenix in the Tonto National Forest on June 14, 2020. The human-caused brush fire is burning in the Sugarloaf and Four Peaks Recreation areas.

The Bush Fire burns northeast of Phoenix in the Tonto National Forest on June 14, 2020. The human-caused brush fire is burning in the Sugarloaf and Four Peaks Recreation areas. (Photo: Michael Chow/The Republic)

The human-caused Bush Fire started Saturday and spread quickly amid hot, dry and windy conditions. By Monday morning, officials said the Bush Fire had burned 14,371 acres in the Tonto National Forest with no containment.

The Bush Fire was concentrated in the Four Peaks Wilderness area of the national forest.

The fire has forced closures on State Route 87 between Bush Highway and State Route 188. The Sugarloaf, Four Peaks, Lower Sycamore, Pobrecito, Butcher Jones and Saguaro Lake recreation areas are closed.

Three hotshot crews and 11 fire engines were working to suppress and contain the fire, according to Tonto National Forest officials.

Mangum Fire

Fire officials didn’t yet know what caused the Mangum Fire, which burned 19,806 acres north of the Grand Canyon in the Kaibab National Forest. The fire was 2% contained as of Monday morning, officials said.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office warned residents in the White Sage Community to be ready to evacuate if the fire advances. No structures had been damaged, officials said.

U.S. Forest officials evacuated the Jacob Lake Inn and nearby campgrounds on Friday. The entire fire area is closed to the public.

State Route 89A is closed between Marble Canyon and Fredonia, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. National Park officials have also closed State Route 67 between Jacob Lake and the North Rim.

More than 400 firefighters were dispatched to help contain the fire, according to an announcement on InciWeb, a government tracking site.

Bighorn Fire

Fire crews were also working to contain the 13,200-acre Bighorn Fire near Tucson. Officials said the containment was up to 22% Monday. 

Evacuation orders were lifted Sunday, though several areas remained on high alert. Pima County officials advised residents to be ready to evacuate if needed.

The wildfire started when lightning ignited the dry vegetation in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness on June 5. Officials said the fire was burning steep and rugged terrain. Fire crews were using drones to gather data at the same time that crews were on the ground.

Catalina State Park is closed along with portions of the Coronado National Forest. Hiking trails near Romero Canyon, Pima Canyon, Finger Rock, Pontatoc, Pontatoc Ridge and Linda Vista were restricted.

Reach the reporter at Helen.Wieffering@arizonarepublic.com or on Twitter @helenwieffering.

I’ll be reporting more on western fires as we move through this warm season.

Here is more climate and weather news from Monday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:

(As usual, the most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.) 

Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”

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