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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This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated.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.
On October 28, 2007, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite passed over Southern California, most of the devastating blazes that had ravaged the area in the previous week appeared to have calmed. This image, made using visible and infrared light, shows the extent of the fires over the landscape. Unburned vegetation is bright green, urban areas are gray, burned areas are brick red, and areas where MODIS detected actively burning fire are outlined in red. The bright pink glow within the fire locations is often a sign of open flame in this type of image. Both the Santiago and Poomacha Fires were still active.
The large image provided above is at the sensor’s maximum spatial resolution (level of detail) of 250 meters per pixel. The MODIS Rapid Response Team provides twice-daily images of the region in additional formats, including photo-like natural color.
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.