Managing fires is a traditionally on-the-ground profession that adopted quickly to the value of aerial resources. On the Great Lake Fire in North Carolina, listed at 7000 acres yesterday, a range of sky-based tools help convey the current status, even from a continent away.
For one, there’s avionics tracking — such as that provided by FlightRadar24. A screen shot just past noon conveys a circle significantly larger than the fire footprint reported the night before.
Some seven hours later in the shift, at 1724 EDT, the aerial observation ship is circling tighter and to the north.
Switching to VIIRS satellites, the heat signature shows growth (and likely burnouts) in the past six hours (the brighter red, with the lighter yellow being 24 hours old). Using the Area tool built into NASA Lance FIRMS site, a rough (and likely large) estimate puts the fire at 30,000 acres.
Switch to the toolset shared via the Risk Management Assistance Dashboard and one can overlay fire histories (the black solid line) … and lo and behold, the current estimated perimeter seems to align with the Dad Fire, a 21,000 acre fire in 2012, as well as prior fuel treatments to the north and south.
One additional tool is the mapping, forecasting, interpretation and messaging of smoke and its impacts … as shared here via a Twitter post from the N.C. Air Qualify Forecast Center.
URGENT (4:42PM FRIDAY 4/21/2023): UNHEALTHY TO HAZARDOUS AIR QUALITY LIKELY OVER EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA THROUGH TOMORROW OWING TO SMOKE FROM GREAT LAKE FIRE. #ncwx #airquality #AQI
This a developing situation, please see our forecast discussion: https://t.co/A4ceI2rdBO pic.twitter.com/CY1GU9PkfT
— NC Air Quality Forecast Center (@NCDAQ_Forecast) April 21, 2023
We echo what the Air Quality center notes in their tweet: this is a developing situation, and the maps shared here are interpretations of what is certainly more challenging, and being more accurately portrayed, on the ground and in the air above the Croatan.