On the evening of August 31, 2009, the Incident Information System estimated the size of the Station Fire, north of the city of Los Angeles, at 105,296 acres. The Los Angeles Times reported that the fire had burned 74 structures and remained out of control, spreading both west and north. As of 6:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on August 31, some 12,000 homes were threatened. Fire fighters struggled to save the Mt. Wilson Observatory from the encroaching fire.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image around 2:05 p.m. local time (21:05 UTC) on August 31, 2009. Red outlines indicate high surface temperatures associated with wildfires; the outlines almost reach Mt. Wilson. A long plume of smoke blows away from the fire toward the northeast.