GOES-16 visible imagery observations of the Ute Park Fire smoke plume on June 2 yielded some interesting phenomenon (Fig 1). Early on in the loop and before the fire really gets going for the day, the plume is trapped under a stable layer. As the mountain slopes heats up to the west and north of the wildfire, flow under the inversion drives the smoke west/north toward the heated/lower pressure slopes. After the wildfire becomes more active and heats up substantially during the early afternoon, the smoke plume penetrates through the inversion and taps into the westerly flow aloft, accelerating east. Winds at the surface increase from the south, and smoke in the lower levels accelerates north. Toward the end of the loop, gravity wave “ripple” features are diagnosed emanating away from the fire within the smoke layer still trapped under the inversion.
Bill Line, NWS