Wildfires in the United States of America

29 June 2016

Satellite-derived data on the number of active fires and area in the USA.

Wildland fires in the USA have already had a significant impact considering the early stage of the summer. As of 29 June 2016, there were 23 uncontained large fires burning and the YTD area burned reached well over 2 million acres (~900,000 ha). In addition several fatalities have occurred and over 356 structures have burned-- mostly residences in California and New Mexico. The Erskine fire alone, in Lake Isabella CA has destroyed 257 structures, levelling entire streets.

Source: https://www.nifc.gov/nicc/sitreprt.pdf (PDF updated daily by the National Interagency Coordination Center)

This image of the Sherpa Fire burn scar near Santa Barbara Calif. was acquired by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on the Terra on June 19, 2016. Vegetation-covered land is green in the false-color image, which includes both visible and infrared light. Patches of unburned forest are gray. Buildings, roads, and other developed areas appear white. The Sherpa Fire burned over 7,400 acres (~3,500 ha), destroyed 5 structures but is now 93% contained. The aerial picture below was captured by firefighting aircraft; it shows the start of the Sherpa Fire on 15 June 2016.
Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov (retrieved on 29 June 2016)


A wildfire burning by Lake Isabella outside Bakersfield, California, is the state’s largest so far in 2016, according to news reports. As of June 27, the Erskine fire had scorched 18,368 hectares (45,388 acres), destroyed at least 250 structures, and was responsible for at least two deaths. The image above shows the region at 3:34 a.m. Pacific Time on June 26, 2016. It was acquired with the day-night band (DNB) of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite. The DNB can detect relatively dim signals such as city lights and reflected moonlight, and in this case it also shows the glow of the fire.
Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov (retrieved on 29 June 2016).


On June 19, 2016, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite acquired this false-color image of the Cedar fire (top image), which burned in eastern Arizona. Near- and short-wave infrared help penetrate some of the smoke to reveal the hot spots associated with active fires, which appear red. Smoke appears gray-blue and burned areas appear rusty brown. The second image, shows the same scene in natural-color. As of June 29 the fire had burned  the fire had burned 45,995 acres (over 18,580 ha.) and was 90 percent contained.
Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov (retrieved on 29 June 2016).


Recent news from and about fires burning in the USA