For much of summer 2021, large fires decimated forests in Northern California. By the middle of October, those fires were mostly extinguished or burned out, but red-flag warnings and fierce fires had begun to cause problems in the chaparral shrublands and grasslands of Southern California.
On October 13, 2021, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image of the Alisal fire northwest of Santa Barbara. Strong northerly winds pushed plumes of smoke over the Pacific Ocean.
After igniting near the Alisal reservoir on October 11, the fast-moving blaze charred 13,400 acres (54 square kilometers) by the afternoon of October 13. At that time, the fire was 5 percent contained. With the blaze threatening at least 100 structures, authorities have issued evacuation orders and closed parts of Highway 101.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS LANCE and GIBS/Worldview. Text by Adam Voiland.