Reports are pouring in from across the United States of multiple meteor fireballs streaking across the sky yesterday evening, January 12th, 2014, from approximately 5pm through 7pm, Eastern Standard Time. Over 170 observation reports were submitted to the American Meteor Society website, in addition to dozens of reports submitted on the Lunar Meteorite Hunters website, from eyewitnesses in northeastern and western states.

Streaks appearing on NOAA's online radar service apparently indicate that the fireballs came in from a northeast-southwest direction:

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© NOAA
The Pacific coast of the US earlier today. Note the blue streak over Washington state and similar on the Nevada-Utah border.

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© NOAA
Note the streaks over the ocean west of Washington state and Oregon.

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© NOAA
More streaks along the west coast.

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© NOAA
NOAA radar also picked up some of the fireballs entering over the Midwest and Northeast US.
In addition to the fireball reports, a number of wildfires have broken out in Oklahoma:

Oklahoma Firefighters Battle Multiple Grass Fires

Wildfires in Oklahoma following the country's coldest spell in at least 20 years? It's currently 40 degrees F (7 degrees C) there!

Then there's this:

Grass fire chars 30 acres in Waller County, Texas

And this:

Major Kansas Wildfire Destroys 3 Homes

NOAA has since issued notice of the wildfire outbreak, warning that
A critical fire weather area is in effect for the coastal mountains and foothills of southern California, and for eastern New Mexico, western Texas, and far western portions of the Oklahoma Panhandle.
The following testimony is from a SOTT Forum member in Oklahoma.
Ok, I just read the article on SOTT about the apparent meteor outburst over the northeastern states.

I found this article very interesting because, today, I just finished my run and sat down at my computer to listen to the SOTT radio show while I was drinking my water. I was about 45 minutes into the show when I started listening to it. I was probably sitting there for about 10 minutes when my daughter come into my office and told me that the yard was filled with smoke. I went outside and found the yard covered in extremely thick smoke. Visibility was limited beyond about 25 meters. The wind was strong and traveling an a northeasterly direction. I knew from the color and odor of the smoke this was a grass fire and it was close, within 500 meters. With the strong, steady wind speed this thing was going to spread quick.

So, I ran down to the road to see if I could spot the point of origin of the smoke. Was it on my side of the street or the opposite side? When I got to the road I could tell that it was on the opposite side. I yelled up to my wife who was on the porch and had her call 911. I then ran down the road, about 500 meters, located the point of origin of the bellowing smoke, ran up the driveway and assisted an elderly couple fight the fire that was quickly approaching their house. Long story short, I fought that fire for about 30 minutes before the fire department arrived and then helped them fight it for two more hours. So, once it was contained I went back home, took a shower, doctored my injuries and checked the local news, where I read this article.

Here is the interesting thing, by the way all the fires that happened today are not listed in this article, the fire I fought did not start near a road, or anywhere where there was human activity. It started in a pasture, where no humans were, and spread rapidly in a northeast direction, due to the wind speed. About 1000 meters west of this fire another fire broke out. These two fires were not related and were separated by two roads. The firefighters that arrived were swamped and the truck that arrived ran out of water after five minutes. We literally had to use garden hoses, shovels and wet cloths to fight the fire to prevent it from catching on to the juniper trees, which, if it did, would have gone up like gasoline and enabled it to jump the road.

I can say this from my experience, the fire I fought was not started by a human being. Not a campfire, lightning, cigarette butt, or any of the usual suspects. Based on the meteorite article and the number of fires today I strongly think that a small pebble-size meteorites combined with the strong wind started these fires.

So, just something to keep in mind and make preparations for.

If these fires are meteorite caused, depending on their numbers, they WILL overwhelm the fire department, which would normally respond promptly.

So just in case this happens to anyone else, you might want to consider the following:
  • Invest in garden hoses
  • Wet a t-shirt and put it over your mouth and nose to minimize smoke inhalation
  • If you can put on pants and a long sleeve shirt then soak them down (take it from me don't wear jogging shorts you will get burned)
  • If you can get all the leaves out of your gutters, flying embers will ignite them and your roof could catch on fire without your knowing it until its too late. If you can't then saturate your gutters with water to wet the leaves that are inside.
  • If you have any cedar, pine, or juniper trees, try to keep the fire from getting to them. Because of their resin they will burn like gasoline and that will quickly catch on to other trees. Trust me this is very fast. This will turn a grass fire to a forest fire.
Another SOTT Forum member in the Northeast wrote:
Interesting. I heard an overhead explosion last night in north central Massachusetts. I was having a smoke on the porch, so I was outside. I don't know what these things are supposed to sound like but it was loud, above ground but didn't sound to high above the ground.
Another SOTT Forum member in the UK wrote:
I don't know if this is related to the US sightings. On Friday morning (10 January) at about 10:00 GMT here in the south east UK I observed three distinct trails in the sky, one of which split into two at a single point. Whatever created these trails was clearly travelling from east to west. The trails began approximately above London, maybe somewhat further west. They were at 90 degrees to the direction in which the clouds were travelling. I'm not good at estimating atmospheric heights (clouds, planes, etc.) but these trails were higher than the clouds which were quite low. I also observed jet trails in the sky at the same time, and these three trails were much shorter than the jet trails quite different in form, more like the trail left by the Chelyabinsk meteor.
Could this have been debris from Comet ISON? Possibly, though as Robert Lunsford at AMS reports, we're not due to cross that debris stream until January 15th. Based on the fireball stats for 2013, and the flurry of fireballs so far this year (including 95 separate events in the US), it looks like we're in for one hell of ride in 2014!