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Extent of Los Alamos fire seen by Landsat 7
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science.
The Cerro Grande Fire near Los Alamos, New Mexico,
consumed about 47,650 acres and destroyed more than 200 buildings
during the month of May 2000. This false-color Landsat 7
image shows much of the damage, even though some of the
burn scar (red) is obscured by clouds. This scene covers the same
area as the Landsat 7 image from May 9, 2000, previously
displayed on the Earth Observatory. (The colors of this
image are slightly different due to the very bright clouds.)
The extensive damage to the town of Los Alamos (beneath the
bright green golf course in the center of the image) and
Los Alamos National Laboratory (near the curving road at
bottom center) is clearly shown.
Note the surviving vegetation at the bottom of the
steep ravines that run from left to right across the image.
High winds caused the fire to jump the ravines without
descending into them.
Area residents may be vulnerable to mudslides during
the rainy season that begins in July. Plants on the
hillsides normally hold soil in place and slow water runoff,
but after a fire water runs quickly downslope and can
erode the bare slopes.
Landsat 7 data are archived and available from
Image by Rob Simmon, Earth Observatory, NASA Goddard Space Flight
Center. Data courtesy Ron Beck, EROS Data Center (EDC)