Journal of Operational Meteorology
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A Doppler Radar and Conceptual Analysis of a Horizontal Longitudinal Vortex Influencing the Bastrop Complex Wildfire

Gregory P. Murdoch1, T. Todd Lindley2, and Christopher J. Morris3

1National Weather Service, Midland, Texas
2National Weather Service, Norman, Oklahoma
3National Weather Service, Amarillo, Texas


The Bastrop Complex wildfire (BCW) occurred during the record-breaking Texas drought of 2011. Although the 139.03 km–2 (34 356 ac) fire burned an area much smaller than the state’s largest wildfires, it was the largest wildland fire on record in central Texas, and the resultant property losses were unprecedented in Texas history. The BCW is of meteorological interest because of its simultaneous occurrence and interaction with a transient ambient horizontal longitudinal vortex (HLV). This study presents a conceptual review of HLVs from the perspectives of both meteorology and fire behavior. A thorough Doppler radar analysis of the BCW and its interaction with a transient pre-existing HLV is provided through observations of the remotely sensed debris plume. A basic conceptual model for the phasing of a wildland fire’s circulation with an ambient HLV is presented, underscoring the advantages of using Doppler radar to diagnose near-fire environments for tactical firefighting applications.

Vol. 4, No. 12 (2016): PDF (1054 KB)    DOI:

Murdoch, G. P., T. T. Lindley, and C. J. Morris 2016: A Doppler radar and conceptual analysis of horizontal longitudinal vortex influencing the Bastrop Complex wildfire. J. Operational Meteor., 4 (12), 160–169.


Last updated 8/9/2016 by MJB.



ISSN 2325-6184
DOI: 10.15191/nwajom/

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