Schultz Fire North of Flagstaff, AZ

Schultz Fire North of Flagstaff, AZ

21 June 2010

The Schultz Fire had burned an estimated 8,800 acres of forest north of Flagstaff, Arizona, as of June 22, 2010, and it remained totally out of control. Evacuations were in effect in the vicinity, but no structures had yet been lost according to the interagency Incident Information System (Inciweb) Website.

This image of the fire was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on June 21. Places where MODIS detected actively burning fire are outlined in red, and smoke drifts far to the northeast over the portion of the Colorado Plateau known as the Painted Desert.

The blaze looks like two separate fires, but an infrared-enhanced view shows a continuous burn scar (brick red color), with significant activity on both the northern and southern parts of the perimeter.

Smoke over New England and the North Atlantic

A thick river of smoke flowed southeast over New England from several large forest fires in southern Quebec, Canada on May 31, 2010. These images show both the fires (top image) and the thick smoke they produced (lower image). Red boxes outline the fires north of Quebec, Canada in the top image, which was taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’sAqua satellite on May 30, 2010. Dense smoke pours from the fires and blows south toward the city of Quebec, a cement gray region along the St. Lawrence River.

By the following day, the smoke had reached New England and flowed over the North Atlantic Ocean. The MODIS sensor on NASA’s Terra satellite captured the lower image at 11:10 a.m. U.S. Eastern time on May 31. The image covers a much broader region than the top image. A pale gray smoke plume spans the entire width of the image—about 1,900 kilometers (1,200 miles). The plume is over 200 kilometers (120 miles) wide near Cape Cod, but it narrows offshore. The fires are under cloud and just beyond the upper edge of the image, but the St. Lawrence River and Quebec are visible.

On May 30, the Canadian Interagency Fire Center reported 54 fires in Quebec, eight of which were burning out of control. As of June 1, at least 1,300 people had been evacuated from communities threatened by the fires, reported the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The smoke brought air quality to unhealthy levels in the province of Quebec and throughout much of New England on May 31.


USA: ‘The haze’ from Canada (published by, 01 June 2010)

Canada: B.C. sends more troops to fight fires in Central Canada (published by, 30 May 2010)

Canada: Reserve is evacuated as 57 forest fires rage across province (published by, 28 May 2010)


Smoke over the U.S. from Spring Burning


Spring is a time for planting, and one very common tool for preparing the ground is fire. Smoke from agricultural burning can drift over wide areas, as it did in mid-May 2010. As this image shows, the smoke raised carbon monoxide concentrations slightly in parts of Mexico, southern Canada, and the U.S. Great Plains and New England.

Areas that are red show the highest concentrations of carbon monoxide, while yellow areas show lighter concentrations. Carbon monoxide is released when carbon in fuel—both plants and fossil fuels like gasoline—burns incompletely. In the United States, the vast majority of carbon monoxide released into the atmosphere comes from vehicles and other gas-burning equipment, but fires also contribute. In mid-May, smoke from agricultural burning brought higher carbon monoxide concentrations to three regions in North America.

The most obvious burning signal is in Mexico, where fires burned along both the Pacific coast and the Gulf of Mexico. The plume of carbon monoxide over the Pacific Ocean is easy to see against the lighter background concentration of the gas over the ocean. Red and darker tones of orange over the Gulf indicate that smoke is also moving north from the Yucatan region. The smoke spread north into Texas and surrounding states, reported the Smog Blog. In this image, carbon monoxide concentrations are higher in Texas and the southern Plains than the overall background over most of the United States.

The other two concentrated areas of carbon monoxide are in the northern Great Plains and the northeastern United States. Clusters of fires are emitting smoke in the northern Plains states, particularly Minnesota and Wisconsin. Smoke from fires in southern Canada and the Plains states moved east over New England and the Atlantic Ocean. The smoke plume is reflected in elevated carbon monoxide concentrations in these regions.

The image was made with data collected by the Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) instrument during the week of May 16 through May 23, 2010. MOPITT is a Canadian instrument flying on NASA’s Terra satellite to collect measurements of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere. Areas where the sensor did not record carbon monoxide measurements, primarily because of clouds, are gray.




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