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Fire Potential Index

Smoke and flame continue to color the skies over large portions of the western United States. Limited rainfall and scorching temperatures have created ideal conditions for fires, and weary firefighters are struggling to combat the blazes.

This image shows fire danger around the United States, based on data collected between July 20th and 27th, 2000. (The animation shows a sequence of eight-day measurements, running from April 28th to July 27th, 2000.) Red areas indicate where fire potential is greater and green areas show places where the threat is lower. This fire potential map is based on the Soil Moisture Index (SMI). SMI is derived from temperature and vegetation measurements taken by NOAA's satellite-based Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR). SMI data is regularly posted at:

Data provided by the Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group at the University of Montana. Additional animation by Robert Simmon.