Loma Fire in California Grows

September 30, 2016, NASA
Credit: NASA

The Loma Fire in California which broke out on Monday, September 26, 2016 has now grown to 2,865 acres and is 20% contained.  There is good news to be had at present.  Evacuations were lifted Wednesday afternoon for all Santa Cruz County residents, but road closures remain in effect for non-residents.  In addition, the number of houses/structures damaged or destroyed remains constant. 

According to the CA Fire managers the cooler weather enabled firefighters to use a tactic called a firing operation where they spark their own fire at the top of a hill. The then let the fire burn down slowly to where the fire is burning down below. If the fire were to come up the hill on its own, it'd be much more intense.  It is one type of offensive to try and quell the fire's intensity.  The downside to this is that it causes a new plume of smoke to rise and create air quality issues, however, it is not something that the fire already raging would not do on its own.  Firefighters are working 24 hour shifts and they are hoping to have the fire contained by Monday.

This natural-color satellite image was collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite on September 28, 2016. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS's thermal bands, are outlined in red.  NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption: NASA/Goddard, Lynn Jenner with information from CA fires.

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