Fires Burning Near Big Sur, California

July 1, 2008
Fires Burning Near Big Sur, California
Image credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team

Fires near Big Sur, Calif., continued to burn unchecked when the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA's Terra satellite captured this image on Sunday, June 29.

In Northern California alone, fires have consumed more than 346,000 acres.At least 18,000 people have deployed to attempt to extinguish or control the flames. Air quality as far away as San Francisco has been adversely impacted by the dense clouds of smoke and ash blowing towards the northwest.

The satellite image combines a natural color portrayal of the landscape with thermal infrared data showing the active burning areas in red. The dark area in the lower right is a previous forest fire.

ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched December 18, 1999, on NASA's Terra satellite. The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and the data products.

The broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution of ASTER provides scientists in numerous disciplines with critical information for surface mapping, and monitoring of dynamic conditions and temporal change.

Example applications are: monitoring glacial advances and retreats; monitoring potentially active volcanoes; identifying crop stress; determining cloud morphology and physical properties; wetlands evaluation; thermal pollution monitoring; coral reef degradation; surface temperature mapping of soils and geology; and measuring surface heat balance.

The U.S. science team is located at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

Source: NASA

Explore further: NASA finds Tropical Cyclone Frank fading

Related Stories

NASA finds Tropical Cyclone Frank fading

July 28, 2016

Tropical Storm Frank weakened to a tropical storm on July 28, 2016 and satellite imagery shows that winds and thunderstorms have continued to weaken.

NASA gets last looks at former Tropical Storm Darby

July 26, 2016

Tropical Storm Darby weakened to a remnant low pressure system in the Central Pacific Ocean today, July 26. NASA's Aqua satellite and RapidScat instrument provided a "last look" at Darby when it was still a tropical storm ...

NASA sees Tropical Storm Mirinae approaching landfall

July 27, 2016

Tropical Storm Mirinae was moving through the Gulf of Tonkin early on July 27 when NASA's Aqua satellite passed overhead. Forecasters expect Mirinae to make landfall in northeastern Vietnam later in the day.

Recommended for you

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

albert
not rated yet Jul 01, 2008
540 square miles is a lot of land and a lot of trees. 1400 fires!!! My, my, what's happening to this place?
DoctorKnowledge
5 / 5 (1) Jul 02, 2008
It's been guessed for a few years that much of California that is now semi-arid will become full desert. It won't take many years for large parts of California to be burned free of the protective coverage of trees. Trees that, due to decreased rainfall, won't grow back. I.e., this is a part of the process of turning much of Northern California into the way Southern California naturally looks: nearly barren.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.