NW California Wildfires 8/22/2023

Over a week into a regional lightning bust across the Klamath and Siskiyou Mountains, the passage of Tropical Storm Hilary brought a mix of rain and wind to NW California. The Gasquet area missed out on the rain, but got strong NE winds on the backside of a low pressure system which cleared out after … Read more

Northern California Lightning Fires – August 20, 2023

Lookout maps and commentary by: Ryan Cowper Stephens Table of Contents: Smith Complex Happy Camp Complex SRF Lightning Complex There are a number of fires burning in far Northwestern California and now we’ve got maps to prove it. Due to a mechanical failure on the plane used to map these fires up north, we’ve had … Read more

NorCal Lightning Bust and Oregon Fires 8/18/23

Wildfire reporting for 8/18/2023. NorCal and Oregon in separate videos. Getting ready for hurricane-induced winds. I don’t always have time to do videos of fires in Oregon, Idaho, Canada, etc. But since things have been relatively quiet, I did this short video. (And how could I not cover the Lookout Fire?) –Zeke

NorCal Lightning Bust – Day 4

Here today’s YouTube briefing on new fires in Northern California – 8/17/2023. We look at the active fires in California and current conditions. Bonus features: rants about selling carbon offsets for cut-over forests that burn all the time, and why putting out every fire doesn’t make sense. Head Fire Progression Maps The outer RED perimeter … Read more

NorCal Lightning Bust – Day 3

Here today’s YouTube briefing on new fires in Northern California – 8/16/2023. Head Fire Progression Maps The outer RED perimeter was captured today 8-16-23 @3:30pm Red to Yellow Line represents approximately 16 hours fire growth White line (ignition point) was captured an hour before the yellow line 8/15-23 @ 10:30pm Overview of the Head Fire: … Read more

Northern California Lightning Fires – August 15, 2023

Welcome back to the Lookout! Yesterday’s lightning bust produced a number of fires throughout Northern California and the show’s not over yet. We’re expecting to see more thunderstorms rolling in today and throughout the week, mostly in the Sierra, Cascade, and Coast Ranges. There are a number of fires that have taken hold and have … Read more

The Fish Abide – Forging Hope After the Camp Fire

A note from the editor/Zeke: Last week part of a hydropower flume in Upper Butte Creek, near where we live, in Chico, California, collapsed, sending millions of gallons of water down a steep forested slope, and causing a landslide of mud and soil which poured into Butte Creek. This has caused many days of extremely … Read more

Dry Lightning

Let’s talk lightning! At least once a decade in California, a few hours of abundant and widespread ‘dry lightning’ (no rain) turn an average wildfire season into an exceptional one. Thousands of wildfires start, some in remote areas, and many will burn until fall rains come. Unlike human-caused fires, which grow quickly when they ignite … Read more

Wildfire 101

This piece comes to us from Brè Orcasitas. Brè is the author of The Evolving Nomad blog site and a wildland firefighter with 16 years of experience which includes: Engine Crew, Hotshot Crew, Helicopter Rappeller, Smokejumper, and Field Operations Specialist. Wildfire 101 When you spend your life hiking around steep hillsides, digging in the dirt and … Read more

What does it take for fire season to start in NorCal?

So wildfire season is finally starting to take off in Northern California. Here is a thread on why it has taken this long, and what it takes for us to have large fires in California: California has so many fire suppression resources it is hard for fires to escape initial attack unless at least one … Read more

Satellite Imagery and Tulare Lake Flooding

UPDATED 4/2/2023. I’ve been watching the floods progress on the satellite. LANDSAT orbits every 8 days, and Sentinel goes over every 5. These views are at the mercy of cloud cover, but you get the occasional peek at the big picture. Here is a progression of satellite images starting 3/13/2023. 3/13/LANDSAT Color Infrared – The … Read more

California Flood Watch – January 2nd, 2023

Stay informed and keep out of trouble! As a community-focused news source, our top priority is to keep our readers informed. While most of you know of The Lookout through our coverage of wildfires, we also have decades of professional mapping experience on water-related project here in California, and a large library of mapping data … Read more

December Update – New interviews and videos.

We’ve been pretty busy in past 6 weeks with interviews, burning, planning work, and some blacksmithing. Here are some of the projects we’ve been working on: An interview with Tim Chavez: I sat down with my friend, Cal Fire’s legendary Tim Chavez to talk about the science of wildfire prediction, and why it is so … Read more

An interview with Wolfy Rougle

We sat down recently with Wolfgang (Wolfy) Rougle to talk about prescribed fire, and efforts she is helping lead to increase local capacity for citizen-led prescribed burning in Butte County, Califorina. The Butte County Prescribed Burn Association has been running for several years, and has helped landowners to safely burn on private property around Forest … Read more

Mosquito Fire – September 18, 2022

Things got a little squirrelly yesterday on the east side of the fire, but this morning’s top story is RAIN!     Mosquito Fire – September 18, 2022 Maps & Intel: Ryan Cowper Stephens As we saw on the McKinney fire this year, rain over a wildfire creates new hazards.  An extreme example of this … Read more

Mosquito Fire – September 17, 2022

Mop up continues around Foresthill and things are looking good on the northwestern area of the fire leading up to today’s expected wind event. Mop up continuing on the northeast area of the fire along Foresthill, Chicken Hawk and Deadwood Roads. Firing overnight around the Middle Fork of the American River along the Inner Bay … Read more

Mosquito Fire – September 16, 2022

Firing operations went well last night and no issues were reported around the fire. Yesterday saw moderate areas of growth on the northern, southwestern and eastern end of the fire. A little dryer and warmer today but more or less similar conditions around the fire as we saw yesterday are expected. Tomorrow we’re expecting big … Read more

Mosquito Fire – September 15, 2022

Mosquito Fire – September 15, 2022 Intro & Livestream: Zeke Lunder Maps & Intel: Ryan Cowper Stephens September 15 at 7am – Fire behavior was pretty subdued yesterday under smoke and mild winds. We took a trip out to the north end of the fire and connected with the Division Supervisor working on a strategy … Read more

Mosquito Fire – September 14, 2022

September 14 at 7am – Fire made big moves yesterday. Our livestream last night detailed the Mosquito Fire‘s spread toward Foresthill and east, with extended Q&A on forestry, prescribed fire, and how fuel and weather conditions yesterday helped prevent the fire from jumping Foresthill Road.    In the Evening Update, footage from today: We went … Read more

Mosquito Fire – September 13, 2022

September 13 at 10am: Forecasted to have less smoke hanging around the fire today. Inversion could lift early and increase fire behavior. Data from last night’s infrared flight was spotty due to heavy smoke and not worth interpretation. Overnight, firing operations were completed between Buckeye Peak to the American River. The fire was most active … Read more

Mosquito & Mountain Fire Intel – 9/12/22

New heat maps for the Mosquito Fire, near Foresthill and Georgetown, California. We also look at the overnight spread of the rekindled Mountain Fire, northwest of Mt. Shasta (no new mapping, just webcam imagery). There was no overnight IR, so we are skipping the Cedar Creek Fire in Oregon this morning.



Spread Potential of the Mosquito Fire and Other Fire News – September 11, 2022

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 … Read more

Evening Update and Wildfire Q&A – September 10, 2022

Evening Update – Mosquito, Mountain & Cedar Creek Wildfires – September 10, 2022 This video gives an update on fire spread of the fires, above, and has an extended Q&A session with Zeke Lunder answering a wide range of questions on wildland firefighting topics including: Why don’t we fly air tankers in heavy smoke or … Read more

Cedar Creek and California Wildfires – September 10, 2022

California and Cedar Creek Wildfires – September 10, 2022 Mosquito, Fairview, Forward & Cedar Creek Mosquito Fire – 10am Update If you watched our Mosquito Fire livestream this morning (September 10, 2022), the 7:45am IR flight shows the following developments since the 10pm imagery used in our YouTube presentation. Color key: Green dots are structures. … Read more

California Wildfires – September 9, 2022

California Wildfires – September 9, 2022 Mosquito & Fairview Maps and captions: Ryan Cowper Stephens Table of Contents: Mosquito Fire Fairview Fire Mosquito Fire UPDATE 10:30 am FIRIS inferred imagery: MAP KEY: RED perimeter to YELLOW perimeter is about 12 hours fire growth between 11pm last night and 1030 am today. GREEN boxes are structures … Read more

California Wildfires – September 8, 2022

California Wildfires – September 8, 2022 Mosquito, Fork, Radford & Fairview Maps and captions: Ryan Cowper Stephens and Zeke Lunder 9/8/2022 Lookout Livestream Evening Update 9/8/2022 Lookout Livestream Morning Update Table of Contents: Mosquito Fire Fork Fire Radford FIre Fairview Fire Mosquito Fire Maps were updated three times on 9/8/22. UPDATE: 4:45 pm, 9/8/2022 FIRIS … Read more

Mosquito Fire – September 7, 2022

Mosquito Fire – September 7, 2022 Maps and captions: Zeke Lunder and Ryan Stephens The Mosquito Fire started last night in the Middle Fork American River Canyon, at Oxbow Reservoir. It is growing rapidly today and will become a major fire. Under current conditions, firefighting will not control the head of the fire, and the … Read more