Fire Blog


Southwest fires: June 22nd, 2016

The Cedar fire, in eastern Arizona, dominates the fire landscape in this VIIRS 375m false-color image from June 22nd. The I-band fire detections are evident, as well the burn scar and large smoke plume drifting to the east. On the other side of this image, the San Gabriel complex can been seen as several I-band detections in the "green" foothills adjacent to the Los Angeles metro area (bluish-gray).


Rocky MT n 2016: April 24, 2016

On April 24th the VIIRS I-band captured the following image and detected several actively burning fires within the Rocky MT n Fire which is located in the Shenandoah National Park. Smoke and a clear burn scar are evident in this false-color image. As of April 29th, the fire size was over 10,000 acres and nearly contained (90%).


Rough and River fires: September 9th, 2015

In this VIIRS M-band (750m) true color image from September 9th, smoke and hot spot detections from many fires can easily be observed, but two large complexes, the Rough fire and River complex, stand out. The Rough fire, now (as of 9/11) over 110 thousand acres and currently the largest fire in California, is in the southern portion of the state to the east of Fresno. The River complex, between and Redding and Eureka, is 72,008 acres and burning slowly in patching fuel conditions. The detections and smoke, drifting to the northwest, can be seen near the top of the image.


Western States Fire Acivity

Over 90 fires are burning across the western United States, consuming more than 1 million acres (>400,000ha). To date 7.1 million acres has burned across the U.S., most of which (72%) has been in Alaksa. This is the earliest (August 18th) the area burned has exceeded 7 million acres in at least 20 years. The situation is so serious that the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group (NMAC) at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise requested the Department of Defense (DOD) to provide 200 active duty military personnel to assist with firefighting efforts. The above VIIRS I-band (375m) false-color image provides a snap shot of the active fires and smoke across Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and California.


Bay Area Smoke

Shifting winds and persistent, active fires in NorCal contributed to air quality warnings in the San Francisco area over the past weekend (August 14th-15th). In the above true-color VIIRS image, smoke from fires such as the Rocky, Jerusalem, and the River and Fork complexes to north, can be seen dispursing south adding to already hazardous air quality from ozone.


Northwestern fire activity: August 13th, 2015

Fire activity shows no slowing down in the western states and this is reflected in the true-color image captured by VIIRS yesterday (August 13th) at 1:15pm, local time. In fact, the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho, announced yesterday morning that the National Fire Preparedness Level would be increased to 5, the highest level and not seen since 2013. The M-band image (bands 5-4-3) and fire detections shows the many active fires and smoke emissions in the northwest. The most active, currently, include the Cougar (lower-left), Wolverine (center-left), Soda (lower-right), and the North Boulder 2.


Jerusalem and Rocky fires

While the Rocky fire, which started July 29th near Lower Lake, California, was nearing complete containment, the Jerusalem fire was ignited this past Sunday, August 9th. As of Tuesday, August 11th, the two have merged according to CalFIRE. They will retain their names, but be managed as a single incident. In the center of the above VIIRS I-band image the Rocky fire burn scar and active fire detections and burn scar for the Jerusalem fire just to the south can easily been seen.


Northern California fires

The lightning-ignited fires burning in northern California can be seen in the above true-color VIIRS M-band image. Many of the fire detections in the cluster shown, and subsequently the smoke plumes, are a result of a lightning storm at the end of July which ignited numerous fires across the region including the Humboldt Lightning fires which had over 70 fire starts.


Wolverine Fire

The Wolverine fire ignited on June 29th in steep, rugged terrain of north-central Washington. However, it wasn't until early August that it erupted into a large-scale conflagration as a result of dry fuel conditions, low humidity, and high winds. As of August 3rd the fire was approaching 25 thousand acres burned. The above VIIRS I-band false-color image (bands 3-2-1) was aquired on August 1st at 1:40pm, local time, and clearly shows the I-band hotspot detections overlaid on the image and the corresponding smoke plume which was responsible for hazardous air quality conditions.