Sunday, September 1, 2013

Playground Fire

Last month I had another chance to visit and do maintenance on a weather station maintained by the University of Utah. This station is located in an area known as The Devils Playground in Box Elder County. A month earlier, in July, lightning started a wildfire that scorched over 2,500 acres of junipers, pinion pine, and sagebrush.

The slideshow of photos shows what the fire left behind--lots of black trees and ash. One of the pictures shows green bushes saved by the red fire retardant dropped by an airplane.

Our weather station was caught in the fire and suffered the same fate as these trees. It was left black and in ashes. As expected, nothing worked and we had to replace all the instruments. We didn't, however, expect to find the instruments totally melted away.

An old RM Young wind monitor
The Temperature and Relative Humidity Sensor (and shield)

Ground Pyronometer (and melted wires)
Precipitation gauge, untouched by the fire, but the intense
heat melted the tipping mechanism.

                         After the fire                                                           With new instruments

Weather data from this station can be found on the Mesowest website.

On the way home, we passed a grass fire on the side of the freeway. It was sure putting out a lot of smoke.

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