Current forest fires in Canada and The United States

Forest Fires in United States and Canada

08 July 2015

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired these images in the late morning on July 5 (upper picture) and 6 (lower picture). Note how the tan and gray smoke almost completely obscures the Strait of Georgia and southern Vancouver Island. Winds shifted abruptly between 5 and 6 July, driving the smoke plume toward the east, dispersing it in some places while fouling the air in areas to the east, such as the Fraser Valley.

In the images, the principal source of the smoke appears to be fires burning 100 to 150 kilometers north of the city of Vancouver and roughly 50 to 70 kilometers north and west of Pemberton and the ski resort area of Whistler. The Elaho Valley fire was sparked by lightning in mid-June 2015, and stayed relatively small and contained until it started growing vigorously on 4 July. By the morning of 7 July, the fire and its scar covered about 20,000 hectares, and the blaze was uncontrolled on all fronts. Thick smoke and gusty winds prevented airborne firefighting flights on 6 July, according to news reports.

An estimated 7,900 residents from La Ronge, Air Ronge and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band have now been evacuated under an order issued jointly by local leaders and the provincial government, which reported on Sunday the Egg fire had moved within five kilometres of the La Ronge town site.

Numbers to 05 July:

7,900 evacuees are in addition to the 5,600-plus evacuees receiving support from the provincial Ministry of Social Services.
5,698 evacuees have registered with the ministry and are receiving help from Red Cross.
Number would likely increase because many evacuees who had first opted to stay with family or friends are deciding to register for support at evacuation centres.

North Battleford — 385.
Prince Albert — 2,293.
Saskatoon — 1,179.
Regina — 1,221.


On June 28, 2015, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image of wildfires burning in Alberta, north of the Athabasa oil sands. Actively burning areas, detected by the thermal bands on MODIS, are outlined in red, while forests appear dark green.

A combination of lightning, parched forests, and strong winds have fueled the fires. According to the Canadian government, 27 uncontrolled fires were burning in Alberta on June 28. Thirty were burning to the east in Saskatchewan.

The 2015 fire season got off to an unusually early start in Canada when blazes broke out in the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, and Alberta in late May. The Edmonton Sun has called the current fire season Alberta’s worst in five years.

Source: NASA Earth Observatory

More than 100 new fires started over the weekend of June 20 to June 21, 2015, according to a report from Alaska Wildland Fire Information. The growing number of fires meant that smoke became an increasing concern for air quality in the state’s populated regions.

On June 22, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this view of smoke across Alaska. Red outlines indicate areas where MODIS detected unusually warm surface temperatures associated with fire. Active fires surround Fairbanks, so even a change in wind direction would not bring relief from the gases and particles that can cause respiratory and other health problems.

Still, firefighters have made progress on some Alaskan fires including the Sockeye fire, about 350 kilometers (220 miles) southwest of Fairbanks (obscured by clouds in this image). That fire was 90 percent contained, according to a report issued on June 23. However, the report also noted that the weather forecast called for warm and dry weather, which could mean even more smoke.

Source: NASA Earth Observatory

Higher-than-usual temperatures and a reduced snowpack have been affecting Alaska and Canadian territories this season.

In Alaska, 562 fires have scorched more than 250.000 hectares of land with a record of 6 active fires in one day.

The Sockeye Fire burned 55 houses and triggered thousands of evacuatios.

Experts say that fires may continue to burn and smoke populated areas increasign the risk of lung related deceases.

WildlandFire relatednews from the Media: Note: The hyperlinks on the left side of each news are password-protected (User ID and password to enter the GFMC database are
available for partners of GFMC). The links on the right side (in brackets) are leading to the original news source; sometimes these news are expiring rather swiftly – a reason for the
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For more media reports see GFMC Media page:

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