Texas Smokehouse Creek Wildfire February 2024

Athena Intelligence
5 min readFeb 28, 2024

Realtime Insights from Athena’s Voice of the Acre

Follow us here, as we update this throughout the day (2/28/2024). For real time comments on February 29th, click here.

The problem isn’t lack of data, it that the current data comes from multiple agencies and is difficult to work with. Therefore, most wildfire models stack and describe the information — much like Yahoo did 20+ years ago when it was the market leader.

Google’s innovation was to create profiles that could more accurately assess what would interest the person doing the search. Athena isn’t a sensor or satellite company, nor do we create new raw data, the Voice of the Acre processes the information to make it more useable or accessible to the human mind.

Think about the difference between a flat map of an area, and the addition of a third dimension. A round world is more accurate and contains more subtlety and complexity. Nature (and fire specifically, is multi variable and multidimensional, which Athena takes into account when profiling the land.

Some sources are currently reporting more than 1 million acres have burned and 0% containment. Inciweb, updated within the last minute, shows 3% contained and 850,000 acres have burned.

Yes, Moderate and Elevated risk properties do burn, but the low risk greens are inhospitable to wildfires and rarely burn.

A picture is worth 1,000 words, so here are 3 pictures in quick succession:

Time stamp and broader picture of the Smokehouse Creek Wildfire as of 1:14 today 2/28/2024

This video from Newsweek 8 hours ago —

A wildfire that broke out in the Texas panhandle on Monday has spread across an estimated 300,000 acres and is uncontained, sparking evacuations of the surrounding area and prompting Governor Greg Abbott to declare a disaster.

Texas Wildfire Map, Update as Smokehouse Creek Fire Sparks Mass Evacuations (msn.com)

The interesting thing with Athena’s data is how fluid and easy to work with it is.

This is a map, created December 15,2023, of Texas using our WPTAs (Wildfire Potential Target Areas). This is a designation for electric utilities, as starting place for them to begin to use the data to create proprietary boundaries — for operational decisions on high risk days.

These High Risk Areas, or Primary Profiles, can be segmented for population, or even for economic factors (highest value homes, highest poverty rates, for example). These maps show the WUI blocks with human population.

Athena currently has about 35% of the land in the continental United States fingerprinted. Each new state takes 72 hours, and we fingerprint states for customers … since we currently have no customers in Oklahoma, we did not have the state prefingerprinted. Running the data now — stay tuned.

On LinkedIn, we were just asked, “What was the risk profile before last week?”

This was run for a utility customer with assets in Texas. We can’t do rankings without running the entire state or bioregion, so this map shows the land with profiles that correspond to the 50% of all burns in Texas over the last 5 years.

This is an ESRI generated picture of Smokehouse Creek Incident
(2024-TXTXS-240317) IRWINID: {4A55159B-D06F-4574-A689-CC4CDCCDC097} Discovered at 2/26/2024, 12:16 PM
The reported cause is Human Calculated size: 1,010,621 ac
Incident is reporting 0% containment

The perimeter geometry comes from 2024 NIFS and was last updated on 2/28/2024, 8:40 AM(Pacific) The perimeter attribution comes from IRWIN and was last updated on 2/28/2024, 9:50 AM

The wildfire perimeter is in blue — the reds and oranges are Athena’s primary burn profiles, as shown on Tableau in the previous comment.

Athena’s Wildfire Ranking System is described elsewhere on this blog, but the software uses colors to express future wildfire risk

The ranking for the entire state of Texas is shown here:

Here are the profiles where just over 50% of fires in recent years in Texas have occurred.

What does your state look like? Feel free to visit our interactive public information on Tableau: Voice of the Acre Historical Burn Profiles

This morning, I posted an article from last night. Texas A&M Forest Service is tracking four wildfires burning across the Panhandle: the 40,000-acre Smokehouse Creek Fire in Hutchinson County, the 4,000-acre Windy Deuce Fire in Moore County, the 30,000-acre Grape Vine Creek Fire in Gray County, and the 2,963-acre Juliet Pass Fire in Armstrong County.

Texas panhandle wildfires: Map traces fires burning in real-time (statesman.com)

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Athena Intelligence

Athena Intelligence weaves vast amounts of disaggregated environmental data. Drop us a line (Info@Project-Athena.com), or visit www.athenaintel.io