SoCal and Mexico Blazes as Seen From Space

By Tom Yulsman | May 15, 2014 10:52 am
blazes

This animation of images captured by NASA’s Aqua satellite on Wednesday, May 14, shows wildfires north of San Diego and neighboring Mexico. One image portrays the scene in natural color, the other in a false color scheme that highlights areas of burned vegetation in bright red. (Source: NASA)

Nine fires are now burning on more than 9,000 acres in California’s San Diego County. Since the first fire outbreaks yesterday, more than 20 residences have been destroyed, with total damages estimated so far at $22.5 million.

For up to date official information on these and other blazes in California, see the state’s Current Fire Information website.

Hundreds of firefighters have been battling the blazes since yesterday. Luckily, though, there have been no reports of deaths or major injuries.

Yesterday, I posted a story that included a satellite image of the wildfires as seen by NASA’s Terra satellite. Smoke plumes were clearly visible, but the image wasn’t quite tack sharp. Later in the day, however, the Aqua satellite passed overhead and acquired better images.

Above, you can see Aqua’s view of the scene in both natural and false color. The false color scene (the 7-2-1 band combination from the MODIS instrument) reveals recently burned areas in bright red, even through palls of smoke.

The city of San Diego is visible in the very center of the images. To the south, smoke and burned vegetation from fires in neighboring Mexico are also evident.

California has been experiencing epic drought conditions, and much of the southern part of the state has been suffering under brutal heat.

Unfortunately, there will be little relief today, as the latest forecast discussion from the National Weather Service points out:

SYNOPSIS...
VERY HOT AND DRY CONDITIONS WILL PREVAIL ACROSS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
AGAIN TODAY...WITH RECORD BREAKING HEAT LIKELY

And there’s this too:

SOME LOCATIONS ACROSS THE SAN DIEGO MOUNTAINS ARE STILL
GUSTING UP TO 30 MPH AT THIS TIME.  THERE WILL BE ONE LAST PUSH OF
WEAK TO LOCALLY MODERATE SANTA ANA WINDS LATER THIS MORNING...WITH
LOCAL GUSTS UP TO 45 MPH POSSIBLE ACROSS THE SAN DIEGO COUNTY
MOUNTAINS AND COASTAL SLOPES.  EXPECT WEAK ONSHORE FLOW TO REDEVELOP
ONCE AGAIN THIS AFTERNOON ALONG THE COAST...SPREADING BACK INTO THE
INLAND VALLEYS.  OTHERWISE...EXPECT ANOTHER VERY HOT AND DRY DAY TO
PREVAIL...WITH RECORDS LIKELY FALLING ONCE AGAIN...INCLUDING RECORDS
ALONG THE COAST.
  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Michael Keener

    why not try to catch the SOB that is starting these fires

    • ken dockery

      They did….

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ImaGeo

ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »