Flames devoured more than 50,000 acres of Utah conifers in the final week of June 2017. A wildfire, likely started by people, spread across the landscape of mixed conifers, feeding on dry trees that had succumbed to earlier beetle infestation.
More than 1,600 firefighters had been deployed to the scene, according to reporting by The Salt Lake Tribune. Rough terrain slowed the fire’s progress, the paper reported. However, a spate of hot weather lent itself to faster burning.
NASA’s Aqua satellite collected this natural-color image with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on June 24, 2017, a week after the blaze began. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS’s thermal bands, are outlined in red.
Officials expect the fire to continue to push northeast. As the fire spreads, it will feed off of shrubs instead of taller trees according to InciWeb, a group that monitors fires in the U.S. According to the organization, “conditions tomorrow could produce extreme fire behavior with crowning, long range spotting and group torching.”
NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response. Caption by Pola Lem.