Driven by powerful Santa Ana winds, wildfires raged near Los Angeles, California, in mid-September 2008. Not only did the winds fan the fires flames, they also sent the smoke far out to sea. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASAs Aqua satellite took this picture at 2:20 p.m. local time (21:20 UTC) on 13 October 2008. In this image, an opaque plume of smoke fans out as it blows over the Pacific Ocean, past the Channel Islands. Counter-clockwise swirls of smoke within the plume suggest shifting wind directions as the smoke moves westward. Further evidence of the Santa Ana winds strength appears in the south, where a faint plume of dust mimics the smoke plumes general movement.
The high-resolution image provided above is at MODIS maximum spatial resolution (level of detail) of 250 meters per pixel.
According to the report from the National Interagency Fire Center issued on the morning of 14 October 2008, the Sesnon fire was located 11 kilometers (7 miles) northeast of Simi Valley, while the Marek fire was located 8 kilometers (5 miles) east of San Fernando. Both fires threatened numerous structures and forced evacuations. According to the U.S. National Weather Service, strong winds were expected to continue in the area through the evening of 15 October.
CNN reported that, as of 14 October, at least two people had died, and the wildfires had burned more than 10,000 acres (40.5 square kilometers) in the hills of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. More than 1,400 firefighters had joined the efforts to contain the fires.