Fires are still active but smoke in our region is less than last week. The smoke impacts forecast for today anticipates moderate (yellow AQI) air quality in SW New Mexico.
A bigger story in our region is going to be the winds today and resulting blowing dust. The National Weather Service is forecasting west southwest winds between 28 and 33 mph, with gusts as high as 47 mph. The 15Z RUC is showing winds strongest over the center of our region, along I-10. Below are wind predictions at 6 pm MDT.
The Deming profiler is showing high winds aloft that look to mix down as our day progresses.
The Horseshoe2 Fire remains the biggest source of smoke in our region based on the number of acres burning and its proximity. As of this morning is has burned 210,331 acres and is 75% contained. Yesterday 3,997 acres were burned. Trajectory colors are 500 (green), 1500 (blue), and 4000 (red) meters above the ground. The trajectories start at 15 UTC (9 am MDT) and are shown every 3 hours till tomorrow morning at 6 am. Fire locations are from the NOAA HMS product at 11:30 am today. The smoke product shows a little plume SE of Deming at the foot of the Little Florida Mtns. Not sure what that is since the fire detection doesn't pick it up. My window looks out toward that direction and I don't see anything at noon. The trajectories from the Monument fire run a similar path so depending on the amount of smoke and dispersion we'll get impacts from both. We will also get smoke from the Hachita Fire located just west of Hachita on both sides of highway 9.
At 1:15 pm haze is starting to increase looking out toward the west. At 5 pm the haze was dense with blowing dust. The pic below was looking southwest from the Highrange Neighborhood.
Thick haze from both smoke and dust later in the afternoon around 6 pm. The haze had a slight blue hue. Strong smell of smoke at 7 pm tonight. Below are the HMS smoke and fire products at 8:53 pm. Notice the red shading or thick smoke over Luna county.
At 10:30 pm some ash was falling down on campus. You can see a couple in the image below as sort of a gray smudge.
The last of my Teflon filter samples was taken today. I collected four polycarbonate filter samples of soot tonight to look at under the campus scanning electron microscope. I took two 10 minute and one 20 minute sample. I think I got enough sample since the filters smelled like a campfire as I was putting them into their petri slide protectors. I had hoped to collect some dust samples but the PQ100 sampler pump couldn't take the pressure drop from the 0.4 micron pore size nuclepore filters. Instead I used an external diaphram pump that was heftier. I still used the PQ100 filter holder, WINS PM2.5 impactor, and the PM10 inlet. I'll check the flow rate tomorrow.
The ceilometer was picking some of this up too. I'll wait till tomorrow morning to download the data.