Sunday, July 22, 2012

Major US fires since 2001; Arizona had hottest spot

There's a great blog I found that gathers and displays geospatial data in innovative ways.    The IDV User Experience (uxblog) posted "Major Fires Since 2001" that includes wildfires, prescribed burns, and agriculture fires (such as the annual prairie fires in Kansas).   He followed up with a fire 'flipbook' (below) that layers maps for each year.  The heat values are taken from NASA satellite thermal anomaly data.
The mapmaker, John Nelson with IDV Solutions, says "each dot represents a moment of pretty extreme heat, down to the one square kilometer level (I only retained fires greater than 100KW and of those only fires that the system was more than 50% confident of)."

The single momentarily hottest square kilometer on the map is in central Arizona, on June 28, 2005.    It looks like it might be in the Cave Creek fire.   That fire burned 244,000 acres.

There are a lot of other fascinating maps on the blog including one on global earthquakes, and several tornado tracks.


  1. Thanks, Lee, for the coverage! I had wondered if anybody would know what fire that was, thanks for the insight. I went back to the data to check it out.

    The pinpointed (in the map) fire's coordinates are 34.093 -111.984 recorded 6/28/2005 with an FRP of 13736.6 (100% confidence interval). Other close-in-intensity fires were logged nearby at the same date. Here's the Wiki page for the Cave Creek Fire. It killed the largest known saguaro catus, at 46 feet tall.

    The second most intense fire in the dataset comes from June 25 of this year, just west of Harrison, MT.

    -John Nelson

  2. Curious that the only state east of the Mississippi with any significant "hotspots" is Florida, perhaps the state with the most tropical (i.e. wettest) climate.