In Southern California’s Mojave Desert, a large wildfire was burning rapidly through chaparral terrain at the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains on July 11, 2006. This image of the fire was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite at 2:20 p.m. U.S. Pacific Time that afternoon. The towering column of gray-brown smoke marches northeast over the desert. A red perimeter outlines locations where MODIS detected actively burning fire. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, two fires are burning close together in this area: the Sawtooth Fire, which was about 6,000 acres and 0 percent contained as of July 12, and the much smaller Millard Fire, which was estimated to be about 125 acres and 70 percent contained.
The close-up image is shown at MODIS’ maximum spatial resolution (level of detail) of 250 meters per pixel. The large image shows a wider area at the same resolution.