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Fires in Montana and Idaho

Fires in Montana and Idaho

In the Northern Rockies of Idaho and Montana, conditions were dry in July and August 2007. Dozens of large forest fires were burning in the area’s remote, rugged terrain, much of which is federally designated wilderness area. This image of the area was captured on August 1, 2007, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Places where MODIS detected actively burning fire are outlined in red. Dozens of large fires filled the skies with thick smoke.

According to the August 1 report from the National Interagency Fire Center, 11 large fires totaling more than 880,000 thousand acres were burning in Idaho. Five of these had been designated “Wildland Fire Use” fires, which means they will be allowed to burn according to pre-existing natural resource management plans. Because the forests of the Northern Rockies are adapted to naturally ignited fires, some fires must be allowed to burn to maintain the ecosystem in a healthy state.

The large image provided above has a spatial resolution (level of detail) of 250 meters per pixel. The MODIS Rapid Response Team provides twice-daily images of the region in additional resolutions.

NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center