1 The Steamboat Springs Smoke-Out: The 15 April 2010 Case Study

Monday, 18 August 2014
Aviary Ballroom (Catamaran Resort Hotel)
M. T. Booth, NOAA/NWS, Grand Junction, CO; and J. D. Colton and M. P. Meyers

A controlled burn was conducted on Elk Mountain approximately 15 kilometers northwest of the town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado on 15 April 2010. The location of the prescribed burn was nearly 60 m higher than Steamboat Springs with considerable snow cover present. The goal of the controlled burn was to reduce built-up sage brush fuels and improve wildlife habitat on the mountain.

Preliminary forecasts indicated favorable mixing and smoke dispersal would be available for the controlled burn with southwest transport winds advecting the smoke north of the town of Steamboat. However, environmental conditions changed during the afternoon hours shifting the smoke plume to a more easterly transport directly impacting Steamboat Springs. This study will examine the primary meteorological factors that led to smoke overtaking the town of Steamboat Springs due to the controlled burn.

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