USA — The wildfire that started last week in a hilly area northwest of Los Angeles kicked up enough smoke to be seen from space.
NASA’s GOES-West satellite captured this animation of smoke plumes drifting westward over the Pacific Ocean from the Springs fire, which started last Thursday (May 2), according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
The animation was created using images acquired by the satellite from 7:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. PDT (10:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. EDT) on May 3. The smoke drifts westward due in part to the strong Santa Ana winds, which helped the fire spread once it started near a roadside. It then spread through scrubland nearby, which provide ample fuel for the fire. Although the cause of the fire is still under investigation, officials have ruled out arson.
Upper-level clouds, which aren’t directly affected by the Santa Ana winds, can be seen drifting eastward in the animation, bringing moisture from the Pacific Ocean that ultimately helped firefighters get a handle on the blaze over the weekend, when the humidity was high. Smoke from California’s Spring wildfire. Image acquired at 11:15 a.m. PDT on May 2, 2013, by NASA’s Terra satellite. CREDIT: NASA Earth Observatory