The Point Reyes, CA Forest Fire of 10/4/95

This Northern California visible satellite image and weather map shows the smoke plume from a large forest fire at Pt. Reyes National Seashore, California, at 2:00 P.M. P.D.T. on October 4, 1995. The information shown on the image includes:
(1) Plots of surface weather data, including:

(2) A GOES-West (GOES-7) visible satellite image.
The Pt. Reyes fire, which destroyed about four dozen homes as well as more than 11,000 acres of forest, burned out of control for several days, whipped by dry, gusty northeast winds of the sort not uncommon in California in the fall. On weather map, note the low dew point temperatures--reported in the high teens and twenties near Pt. Reyes--as well as relatively strong surface winds around much of Northern California.

A companion map in our special-images archive, of the North American sea-level pressure pattern superimposed on a composite visible satellite image, shows a region of relatively high pressure (greater than 1024 millibars) across the Pacific Northwest. The smoke plume emanating from Pt. Reyes and blowing offshore to the soutwest is also discernable on the North American-scale visible satellite image, but barely. (See summary of information about North American overview for more information about this companion image.)

Similar weather conditions contributed greatly to the most damaging fire in U.S. history, in the East Bay hills of Oakland and Berkeley along the east side of San Francisco Bay, in October of 1991.

For information about reading some of the meteorological information on the Northern California image shown here, refer to the key to weather-station plots and general description of visible and infrared satellite images.

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  • Pt. Reyes Fire Menu
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