USA – NASA is tracking wildfires globally, offering a view from high above Earth that reveals the scope and size of major fires, some of which produce smoke plumes that stretch for miles.
Using satellite imagery systems, researchers can illustrate a fire’s location and provide more information about fire behavior. In the images below, for example, red outlines with smoke indicate areas of active fire. Many of the images are produced using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer Rapid Response System (MODIS), which provides daily satellite images in near real-time. Firefighting agencies can use the images to track fires. MODIS also can tell the difference between flames and smoldering burns, giving researchers a better idea of how much particulate matter, which can affect air quality, is released by fires.
The images below are just some of those collected by NASA satellites, which detect wildfires in addition to prescribed fires set to clear dry brush and other fuels from an area, helping firefighters with containment efforts when a wildfire does break out.
Note: This gallery will be updated as more images become available.
This July 10, 2017 image from NASA’s Aqua satellite shows plumes of smoke from the Drew, Rooster’s Comb and Antelope fires in the western United States. The large red spot in the middle of the image represents Nevada’s Rooster’s Comb fire. The Drew fire in Nevada is seen in the bottom left. The smoke at the top of the image is from the Antelope fire in Idaho.NASA’s Terra satellite captured smoke from the Alamo fire July 9, 2017. At the time, the fire in Santa Barbara County was the largest fire burning in California during a summer of high fire danger. NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image of Nevada’s Earthstone and Truckee fires burning July 4, 2017 in Nevada. Smoke streams across Canada’s Yukon and Northewest Territory on July 9, 2017.A smoke plume from a wildfire drifts over the sea south of Turkey. The image over the Toros Mountains was captured July 3, 2017.NASA’S Suomi NPP satellite captured a line of fires burning July 6, 2017 in Kazahkstan. The active burn areas are identified by the red outlines.A large forest fire burns June 19, 2017 in Portugal. This image shows agricultural fires dotting much of the southern Asian landscape on April 12, 2017.The Suomi NPP satellite detected hundreds of fires burning in western and central Africa Feb. 6, 2017.This image shows fires, many of which are likely prescribed, burning in the Central Valley region of California in November 2016.Part of central Africa appears covered in fire in this June 27, 2017 image from NASA’s Suoimi NPP satellite.The Brian Head fire started June 17, 2017 in Utah. The Aqua satellite captured this image of the fire when it was at more than 42,800 acres.The Pioneer fire in Idaho was at 180,000 acres when this image was taken Sept. 1, 2016.The Gap fire in Northern California burned nearly 40,000 acres by the time if was fully contained in September 2016. At the time of this Aug. 31, 2016 image, the fire was only 1,120 acres, but generating a large smoke plume due to heavy fuels and strong winds.This image shows wild and prescribed fires burning in the southeastern United States in February 2017. Prescribed fires are set deliberately by wildland fire management agencies to remove underlying brush and dead grass, giving firefighters some help in fire containment. The Sand and Soberanes fires started on July 22, 2016.A lightning strike started the fire on July 8, 2016 in Colorado.The Dog Head fire started on June 14, 2016 in New Mexico.The Lava Mountain Fire (upper right) in Wyoming was caused by a lightning strike on July 11, 2016. Just a few miles away, the Cliff Creek Fire that started on July 17, 2016. The Cliff Creek Fire was also caused by lightning. The Cedar Fire began June 15, 2016 in Arizona. A view of smoke from wildfires in San Diego County in May 2014.