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Burn Scar from Southern California Fires

Burn Scar from Southern California Fires

This false-color image shows the devastating burn scars left behind by wildfires in southern California in late October 2003. In the image, unburned vegetation appears red, while burned areas appear charcoal-brown. The image, captured by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER), on November 2, 2003, shows the Santa Monica Hills in the Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley regions of California northwest of the city of Los Angeles. Urban areas appear light gray, and some irrigated fields in the left part of the image appear brilliant red.

Though the fires are out, scientists and natural resource managers are now concerned that the charred hillsides will become a major mudslide hazard as winter storms set in. A wider-scale view of the area was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) during the same Terra overpass.

Image courtesy Jesse Allen, based on data from the U.S. /Japan ASTER Science Team.