Two Bulls Fire Explodes Near Bend Oregon

By Tom Yulsman | June 8, 2014 1:22 am
An iPhone photograph of the smoke plume from the Two Bulls Fire, as seen from Bend, Oregon on Saturday, June 7, 2014. (Photograph: © Vicky Sama)

An iPhone photograph of the smoke plume from the Two Bulls Fire, as seen from Bend, Oregon on Saturday, June 7, 2014. (Photograph: © Vicky Sama)

|See update below|

My good friend and colleague, Vicky Sama, texted me this evening with a photo she shot with her iPhone near Bend Oregon showing smoke from a wildfire blazing in brush and timber about 10 miles northwest of town.

At first I didn’t pay it that much heed. Wildfires are, of course, a normal part of the ecology throughout the West. Then she sent another photo. And a few others. They got my attention. So I checked the satellite imagery and lo and behold…

In this animation of images from a GOES weather satellite, look for the birth of a huge smoke plume to the left of center. The entire state of Oregon is visible, so you can get a sense of scale.

The conflagration has been officially dubbed the Two Bulls Fire. As I’m writing this just after midnight on Sunday it is about 250 acres in size. This part of the state is in moderate drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which may have contributed to a fairly rapid spread of the fire.

According to KTVZ TV, 190 homes on the outskirts of Bend have been evacuated, with “thousands more” being warned to be ready to leave their homes quickly if the fire continues to spread.

| Update 9 a.m. PDT, Sunday, June 8: The fire grew to more than 6,000 acres overnight (although some of that is from better mapping of the blaze). Two hundred and fifty homes have been evacuated, and the residents of 2,000 others have been told to be ready to leave quickly, according to KTVZ TV

Earlier in the evening the National Weather Service was forecasting an upsurge in winds to 20 knots, but then calmer conditions for Sunday. So we’ll see how much the fire grows. Given it’s proximity to Bend, a town of about 80,000 people, we can only hope that fire crews quickly get a handle on the blaze.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share more of Vicky Sama’s dramatic photographs. They’re a reminder that those of us who live in the West should not take fire for granted.

An iPhone panorama of the Two Bulls Fire, as seen from the town of Bend.

An iPhone panorama of the Two Bulls Fire. Click to enlarge. (Photo: © Vicky Sama)

Smoke darkens bloodies the skies over Bend Oregon, as seen in this iPhone photo taken on Saturday evening, June 7, 2014. (Photo: © Vicky Sama)

The light of sunset shining through smoke bloodies the skies over Bend Oregon, as seen in this iPhone photo taken on Saturday evening, June 7, 2014. (Photo: © Vicky Sama)

Click to enlarge panorama. (Photo © Vicky Sama)

The Two Bulls Fire, as seen from a walking bridge over the Deschutes River. Click to enlarge panorama. (Photo © Vicky Sama)

The Two Bulls Fire is named after two fires that combined into one just outside Bend, Oregon on Saturday. (Photo: © Vicky Sama)

The Two Bulls Fire is named after two fires that combined into one just outside Bend, Oregon on Saturday. (Photo: © Vicky Sama)

 

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, select, Top Posts, Wildfire
  • Michael Kellogg
    • Tom Yulsman

      Thanks for sharing that Michael.

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    http://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/nfn.htm

    10-year average burn as of 06 June 2014:
    Fires: 31,257; Acres: 1,372,242
    This year’s burn as of 06 June 2014:
    Fires: 22,604; Acres: 765,395

    As of 06 June 2014 the US this year has 72% of the average number of fires and 55.8% of their average burned area. One fails to see any basis for complaint other than Oregon is ineffectively administered under slight drought conditions. Compare with California,

    http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?OR
    Oregon
    http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?CA

    California

    • Rick Williams

      Not sure how you arrive at that conclusion. Really this has little to do with Oregon but rather the abandonment of active management of public land by the federal government. The drought maps are interesting but really of little value except to policy wonks making budget allocations.

    • Tom Yulsman

      Thank you for this useful information. We’ll see how things develop over the summer and with the probable arrival of El Niño. In the meantime, if you could share your data source, I would be grateful.

      • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

        I embrace empirical reality. This is social-advocacy detested, making it all the more personally rewarding. Western civilization circling the drain is

        [∇ × (smartless)]·(criminality)

        That is also the econometric model for the Federal Reserves ZIRP, contradicted by common observation in Japan (six years of stagnation plus inflation) and in the US.

        • Buddy199

          Is this going to be on the test?

        • Tom Yulsman

          I ask for your sources and this is what you provide? Really?

  • Scott Bachmeier

    Additional satellite images of the Two Bulls fire appear on our PyroCb blog: http://pyrocb.ssec.wisc.edu/archives/353

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ImaGeo

ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.

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