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High Cascades Complex, Oregon
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated.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.
A lightning storm started this cluster of wildfires in the Cascade
Mountains of Oregon on August 24, 2011. Burning through forest, grass, and
brush, the fires had covered 90,436 acres as of September 1. They are 25
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired these images on
September 1. The fires, collectively called the High Cascades Complex are
outlined in red. The top image shows the region in natural color, similar to
what the human eye sees. In this image, smoke hangs over the Cascade
Mountains. Newly burned land is dark brown, similar in tone to the natural
land cover in the desert east of the dark green mountains.
The lower image combines infrared and visible light in a false color
image that reveals the extent of the recently burned area. Here, freshly
burned land is red, while plant-covered land is green, and bare or sparsely
vegetated land is tan. In this scene, the Razorback and Hancock Complex
fires are more obvious. The Razorback Fire is the largest fire in the High
Cascades Complex, having burned 51,943 acres as of September 1. The Hancock Complex burned
57,597 acres of grass and is entirely contained. All of the fires started in
the same lightning storm on August 24.