NASA images: Oregon burning

Aug 07, 2013
On July 26, 2013, thunderstorms passed over southern Oregon, and lightning ignited dozens of difficult-to-control wildfires. Credit: NASA

On July 26, 2013, thunderstorms passed over southern Oregon, and lightning ignited dozens of difficult-to-control wildfires. Persistently dry weather since the beginning of 2013 had primed forests to burn, and nearly all of southern Oregon was in a state of severe or moderate drought. In early August, forecasters were expecting the situation to worsen.

On August 5, 2013, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on Aqua captured the top image, which shows smoke rising from the Douglas Complex and the Big Windy Complex fire in southern Oregon. To the south, the Salmon River Complex fire and Orleans Complex fire burned in northern California. Red outlines indicate hot spots where MODIS detected unusually warm associated with fire. The bottom image, a photograph taken by Marvin Vetter of the Oregon Department of Forestry, shows a burning front within one of the Douglas Complex fires on July 26, 2013. he Douglas Complex, which initially consisted of more than 54 separate fires, was burning northwest of Grant's Pass, through forests managed by the Douglas Forest Protection Association. To the west, the Big Windy Complex fires burned in forests managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry. The fires in northern California, likely caused by human activity, burned in Klamath National Forest.

The fires were situated in extremely rugged terrain that hampered firefighting efforts. Approximately 3,000 firefighters were battling the Douglas Complex fires, including the National Guard. About 1,000 were fighting the Big Windy fires. The Douglas Complex was 16 percent contained as of August 6, 2013. Collectively, the two fires had burned nearly 50,000 acres (20,200 hectares).

This is an image of one of the wildfires plaguing Oregon. Credit: Marvin Vetter, Oregon Department of Forestry

While the fires have not yet destroyed homes, they have forced evacuations and the closure of some roads. Smoke lingered in the valleys, posing a health risk to people. To counter the smoke, the Red Cross distributed 20,000 respiration masks in southern Oregon.

By August 6, a total of 817 wildfires had burned 144,688 acres (58,553 hectares) in Oregon. In all, 2.5 million acres had burned across the United States, below the national average. Over the past decade, an average of 4.5 million acres burned in the United States by the first week of August.

Explore further: Fires in Idaho

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fires in Idaho

Jul 22, 2013

Forest fires continue to plague the hot, dry western part of the United States this summer. In Idaho, several fires were spotted by NASA's Aqua satellite on July 20, 2013. Actively burning areas, detected ...

Image: Fires in the Canadian Yukon province

Jul 16, 2013

In the Yukon territory of Canada, several large wildfires continue to burn unabated. The fires on this image are located near Carmacks and also near Stewart Crossing. The Yukon Wildland Fire Management map ...

Oregon's sunnyside turnoff fire

Jul 27, 2013

NASA's Aqua satellite captured an image of smoke from northern Oregon's Sunnyside Turnoff Fire on July 25 as the satellite passed overhead in space.

NASA image: Fires in Manitoba, Canada

Jul 01, 2013

There are currently 27 fires in the northeast section of Manitoba. These fires have burned over 126,000 hectares (over 311,000 acres). Showers have lowered wildfire danger levels in most areas of the province ...

NASA image: Thompson Ridge Fire, New Mexico

Jun 03, 2013

NASA's Aqua satellite captured an image of a large light-brown colored plumes of smoke from two large fires burning in New Mexico: the Thompson Ridge Fire (left) and the Tres Lagunas Fire (right).

Recommended for you

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

Apr 18, 2014

A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties.

User comments : 0

More news stories

China says massive area of its soil polluted

A huge area of China's soil covering more than twice the size of Spain is estimated to be polluted, the government said Thursday, announcing findings of a survey previously kept secret.

UN weather agency warns of 'El Nino' this year

The UN weather agency Tuesday warned there was a good chance of an "El Nino" climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean this year, bringing droughts and heavy rainfall to the rest of the world.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...