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Black Mountain 2 Fire

23 August

17 August

16 August #2

16 August


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 Piper Navajo remote sensing aircraft

Fire Science

Wildfire Monitoring and Prediction
Fire Imaging
Black Mountain Fire, Missoula County, MT
17 August 2003

As viewed by the FireMapper™ Thermal-Imaging Radiometer

Images were collected from the PSW Airborne Sciences Aircraft and disseminated in part by satellite communications in near-real time. FireMapper measures the radiance of emitted thermal-infrared light, which readily penetrates smoke. False-color images shown here depict the apparent surface temperature (in Celsius) as estimated from radiance and a simple black-body model. Warmer tones represent recent or active combustion; areas of gray are cooling ash or warm bare ground (see chart below). Low temperatures of unburned forest and cool ground are shown in green. Images have been geographically referenced. Vertical exaggeration in 3-d views is 1.5 to one unless otherwise noted.


Location Map

Area of Black Mountain fire (courtesy of Active fires are labeled in white.

Click on the image above to view a larger JPEG image
Fire Imagery

The following color-coded images depict apparent ground surface temperatures in Celsius. Roads, streams, and the text in the background are from a 1:100,000 topographic map.


Image 1:
Ground surface temperatures as viewed from above at 11.9 micrometers wavelength on 17 August 2003, from 21:17 to 21:32 UMT.

DISCLAIMER: This image is partially obscured by clouds. The western perimeter could not be imaged at this time.

Click on the image above to view a larger JPEG image



Image 2:
Topographic view as seen from the east of Image 1.

Click on the image above to view a larger JPEG image
SUNDAY AUGUST 18, 2003 - 0800 MDT. (Courtesy of

BLACK MOUNTAIN 2, Southwestern Land Office, Montana Department of Natural Resources &
Conservation. A Type 2 Incident Management Team (Dietrich) is assigned. A Type 1 Incident
Management Team (Gelobter) has been ordered. This fire is in mixed conifer, understory and
grass, nine miles west of Missoula, MT. Shifting winds gusting over 50 miles per hour caused the
fire to blow out in the O’Brien Creek area and spot on the south side. Uphill runs, crowning,
multiple tree torching, and spotting were observed. Residences were evacuated in the O’Brien
Creek, Cedar Ridge/Lyon Gulch and Triple Creek areas. There are 131 residences immediately
threatened. Evacuation warnings were issued for 199 additional homes. Structure protection is in
place for 650 residences.


Archives of past fires: 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001

Forest mapping: 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001

FireMapper™ Specifications: Instrument

FireMapper™ References: Publications

FireMapper™ Tools- image analysis software: ftp downloads page

For Further Information: contact Dr. Philip J. Riggan


FireMapper™ has been developed through a Research Joint Venture with Space Instruments, Inc., and support from the National Fire Plan, Forest Service International Programs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Joint Fire Sciences Program, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Disclaimer: Trade names, commercial products, and enterprises are mentioned solely for information. No endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is implied.

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 Last Modified: 2005-05-17