Extreme fire weather conditions developed across portions of CO/KS/NM/TX/OK on 12 April 2018 as winds increased and RH values decreased over dry fuels ahead of a trough digging into the four corners region. SPC highlighted a large area of extreme fire weather conditions in their fire weather outlook, along with an even broader critical area (Fig 1). Given the threat, both GOES-16 1-min meso sectors were requested and granted. SPC extreme fire weather outlook is priority number 6 for mesoscale sector requests in the case of multiple requests.
Some of the largest and most threatening wildfires developed across western Oklahoma during the afternoon. GOES-16 1-min visible imagery captured the impressive smoke plumes under an otherwise clear sky (Fig 2), while the 3.9 um channel depicted the hot spots (Fig 3). The 1-min imagery allows for the detection of wildfires early in their development. This capability is being used in some NWS offices to alert fire weather partners to new fire starts, sometimes prior to 911 calls.
Pyro-cumulus clouds were observed in the 1-min VIS with one of the Oklahoma fires a little later in the early evening hours (Fig 4).
Bill Line, NWS