Wildfires in Oregon 

Wildfires in Oregon

29 September 2009


Wildfires not far from Eugene, Oregon, sent thick smoke toward the north-northwest on 22 September 2009. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image the same day. According to the Incident Information System, theTumblebug Complex Fire was ignited 12 September 2009, by a lightning strike, and theRainbow Fire was ignited likely by another lightning strike the next day, although officials didn’t detect the fire until 22 September.

Near their sources, the dual smoke plumes are so thick they are opaque. Smoke passes near the city of Eugene and continues toward the north-northwest. The red outlines indicate hotspots associated with unusually warm surface temperatures.

Smoke plumes from these fires blew well northward of the Oregon-Washington border then curved westward over the Pacific Ocean. The large image shows the extent of the smoke plumes on 22 September 2009.

Wildfires continued burning in western Oregon on 23 September 2009. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image the same day. Red outlines indicatehotspots associated with the fires. Opaque plumes gradually thin toward the north. To the west, bright white clouds hug the Pacific coastline. Unlike the previous day’s image, this shot shows relatively clear skies over Eugene, Oregon.

According to a report from the Incident Information System on 25 September 2009, the Tumblebug Complex Fire had burned 10,500 acres (42.5 square kilometers) and was 5 percent contained. A report from 24 September stated that theRainbow Fire had grown explosively on 22 September, but weather conditions had moderated its growth the following day. That fire was 10 percent contained.

The large image shows the extent of the smoke plumes from these fires. The smoke blew across Washington State and into Canada on 23 September, heading toward the northeast near the U.S.-Canada border. Especially thick smoke accumulated in southeastern British Columbia.

(source: earth observatory)


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