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MODIS Captures True-Color Image of California Wildfires

29 Aug 2018, 10:39 am

Fires have been a major issue for many areas across the western United States. This includes the state of California, which is currently experiencing the Mendocino Complex Fire, its largest wildfire in California state history. Fortunately, this complex fire, the Ranch Fire in particular, is almost contained, but fires are still a concern across the state and will continue to be through much of September.

In a recent true-color image produced from MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite on August 26th, 2018, it shows that California was pock-marked with multiple wildfires burning across state.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired a true-color image of California pock-marked with multiple wildfires on August 26. Each red hot spot marks an area where the MODIS instrument detected high temperatures. (Source: NASA)

In the image, each red hot spot marks an area where the thermal bands on the MODIS instrument detected high temperatures. When combined with smoke, such as in this image, such hot spots are diagnostic for actively burning fire.

From MODIS website:

“According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Fire Tracker, which compiles fire information for California from a number of sources including Inciweb and CAL FIRE, as of August 28 there were 12 fires that were over 500 acres in size, caused damage to structures, or caused injury or death to one or more people, actively burning in the state. The largest, the Ranch Fire had consumed 410,182 acres and was 91% contained. The River Fire, which had reached 100% containment (and thus not part of the 12 active fires listed) had consumed 48,920 acres. The Ranch Fire and the River Fire combined to create the Mendocino Complex, which has captured the title of largest fire in California history.”

You can see and read about this and other amazing images produced by MODIS by clicking here.

For WeatherNation, I am Meteorologist Marcus Walter.