California and Cedar Creek Wildfires – September 11, 2022
Mountain, Mosquito & Cedar Creek
We edited our morning Lookout Livestream and added a section about how far the Mosquito Fire is from Truckee and Tahoe, and landscape conditions that might affect its spread. Also, the video has updated maps of new spread on the Mountain Fire and the Cedar Creek Fire. We also take a look at firing operations on the Cedar Creek Fire and discuss about the perils and payoffs of major firing operations (backfires) set to help control large fires.
We don’t like to make hard predictions about what a specific wildfire will or won’t do. Forecasting wildfire behavior over the course of weeks or months is exceedingly difficult. Modern numerical models are not very good at this kind of problem, either. The large fires of the past several years have routinely stumped the models and modelers, alike. Rather than tell someone whether or not a fire will get to point X in Y days, we like to look at previous fires in similar landscapes and talk about what lessons these recent fires might hold for us.
Will the Mosquito Fire reach Tahoe? We don’t know. There is a non-zero chance of this happening. On one had, the canyons above the fire line up with the prevailing winds, there is poor access for firefighters in much of the area and there is continuous forest over the crest to the east side. On the other, there have been several large fires in the area between the Mosquito Fire and Tahoe in the past two decades which will likely slow this fire down. Colder nights will help moderate fire behavior, especially in the high-country, and the weather could change at any time. Rain or snow could dampen the fire. There are many variables.
Truckee is 35 miles from the fire, which has spread about two miles a day. We can’t give any of this a score, so in the video below, we show you some maps and data, with the hope it helps give you some better familiarity with the ‘big picture’ of the situation.
Cover photo by Craig Philpott.