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Fires in Southern California
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
After days of seemingly relentless Santa Ana winds, California firefighters got a break. Winds died down and allowed water-bombing helicopters and ground teams to make significant progress is controlling the week-old fires that had scorched hundreds of thousands of acres and forced half a million people to evacuate their homes.
This pair of images from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on October 25, 2007, shows the fires in natural color (top) and infrared-enhanced false color (bottom). The natural-color image is similar to a digital photograph, while the false-color image emphasizes burned areas (reddish-brown) and open flame (pink glow). At the time of the image, winds appeared to be onshore; smoke clouds from the Santiago and Poomacha Fires were blowing east.
The large images provided above have a spatial resolution (level of detail) of 250 meters per pixel, the maximum resolution of the sensor. The MODIS Rapid Response Team provides twice-daily images of the region in additional resolutions. For more information and maps of the California fires, please visit the National Interagency Fire Center.
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.