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Satellite Imagery: Wildfires across California, Idaho, Nevada, and Oregon glimpsed by NASA's Aqua satellite yesterday


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By: NASA EarthObservatory

UnitedStatesCA_amo_2012224.jpg
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response. Caption by Adam Voiland.
UnitedStates_amo_2012224.jpg
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response. Caption by Adam Voiland.
August 14, 2012 - Wildfires raged through Colorado earlier this summer. Now the western states of California, Idaho, Nevada, and Oregon are feeling the heat. On August 13, 2012, numerous fires blazed across the four states, burning through vegetation ranging from sagebrush to grass to beetle-killed lodgepole pine forests.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of the fires on Aug 11, 2012. Thick smoke is visible drifting across the region. Red outlines indicate hot spots where MODIS detected unusually warm surface temperatures associated with fires.

Three large fires burned through coniferous forests in northern California: the Reading fire in Lassen Volcanic National Park, the Chips fire in Plumas National Forest, and the Fort Complex fire in Klamath National Forest. The largest of the three, the Chips fire had consumed 35,233 acres (14,258 hectares) and was 12 percent contained by August 13. The Reading fire had consumed 20,642 acres and was 10 percent contained, whereas the Fort Complex Fire had burned 908 acres and was 7 percent contained. All three fires were ignited by lightning. Near the California border in Oregon, lightning also sparked the Barry Point fire, which had burned 23,048 acres.

In northern Nevada, the Holloway, Hansen, and Willow fires burned through grass, brush, and sagebrush. The Holloway fire was the largest and had burned 336,152 acres by August 13. The Willow and Hanson fires had burned 49,271 and 14,993 acres respectively. All three were ignited by lightning on August 5.

In Idaho, the Halstead burned through stands of beetle-killed lodgepole pines in Salmon-Challis National Forest. It had consumed 49,322 acres and was 3 percent contained. South of it, the Trinity Ridge fire had burned about 37,044 acres and was 5 percent contained. Lightning ignited the Halstead fire on July 27, whereas human activity started the Trinity Ridge fire.

According to statistics compiled by the National Interagency Fire Center, a total of 5,880,144 acres had burned in the United States through August 13. That was above the ten year average for that date, which was 4,888,974 acres.

 

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