Eight thousand lightning strikes in less than 24 hours sparked hundreds of fires across California over the first weekend of summer 2008, according to an AP news report. This natural-color image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on June 24 shows thick smoke hanging over the mountains that line the Sacramento Valley in Northern California. Places where MODIS detected actively burning fires are outlined in red; other fires are likely present but not detectable because of the thick smoke. The large image shows additional fires burning farther south.
The high-resolution image provided above is at MODIS’ maximum spatial resolution (level of detail) of 250 meters per pixel. The MODIS Rapid Response Team provides twice-daily images of the United States in additional resolutions and formats, including an infrared-enhanced version that highlights burned ground.