Several brush fires popped up in Maryland and Virginia on February 19, 2011. The fires are outlined in red in this image taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite in the early afternoon. Long plumes of smoke stretching away from the fires are evidence of the strong winds that fueled the fires. The winds gusted to 50 miles per hour (80 kilometers per hour).
The dry and windy weather conditions on February 19 proved a dangerous combination for wildfires. On top of that, winter rain and snow have been sparse in the region and the vegetation is dry.
The fires forced evacuations and smoke closed parts of Interstate 95. The interstate’s path is visible in the image by the cement-colored urban areas that surround the road north and south of Washington, D.C.
- Poole, J. (2011, February 23). Winds fan wildfires. Orange County Review. Accessed February 23, 2011.
- U.S. Drought Monitor. (2011, February 15). National drought summary – February 15, 2011. Accessed February 23, 2011.
- Ward, D. and Dimargo, C. (2011, February 21). Maryland brush fires continue to smolder. NBCWashington. Accessed February 23, 2011.
NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek.
- Aqua - MODIS