From the mountains of the Cleveland National Forest east of San Diego, the Harris Fire came racing down toward the San Diego suburbs on October 23, 2007. This infrared-enhanced satellite image from NASA’s Advanced Land Imager sensor on the EO-1 satellite shows the flames reaching the Sweetwater Reservoir. Burning areas appear bright pink, smoke is transparent blue, vegetation is bright green, and paved or bare surfaces are purplish-gray. The large burned area (only part of which is visible in this scene) appears as a reddish-brown area in the lower-right corner of the image. Bright pink spots within the burned area indicate fire is still active in the interior of the blaze as well as around the perimeter. According to the October 24 morning report from the National Interagency Fire Center, the Harris Fire had burned about 72,000 acres and was only 10 percent contained.
Driven by Santa Ana winds, several large wildfires flared across Southern California over the weekend of October 20, 2007. Before winds died down late in the week, the fires burned hundreds of thousands of acres and forced at least half a million people from their homes. Smoke caused unhealthy air quality in many areas.