On September 7, 2012, the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite collected this natural-color view of the charred landscape left by the Pine Creek fire in southern Montana.
The blaze began on August 29, 2012, close to the Yellowstone River; it burned rapidly through the small town of Pine Creek, destroying five homes in the process. It then moved past nearby farms and spread east toward rugged terrain in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, an area where pine beetles had already taken a toll on the forests. The fire was 51 percent contained by September 21 and had charred 8,509 acres (3,443 hectares).
On September 11, 2012, the National Interagency Fire Center reported that a total of 947,848
acres (383,580 hectares) had burned in Montana since the beginning of the year, about 11 percent of the total burned across the United States. Only two states—Idaho and Oregon—had seen more acres burned by that date in 2012.
- Marlon, J. (2012) Long-term perspective on wildfires in the western USA. Ecological Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
- Missoulian, J. (2012, August 31) Resident provides eyewitness account of Pine Creek fire. Accessed September 21, 2012.
- Westerling, A.L. (2006, August 18) Warming and earlier spring increase western U.S. forest wildfire activity. Science
NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data from the NASA EO-1 team. Caption by Adam Voiland.