California Wildfires

Cali_Fires

Image Credit:
NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team

Triple-digit temperatures, extremely low relative humidities, dense vegetation that has not burned in decades, and years of extended drought are all contributing to the explosive growth of wildfires throughout Southern California. The Station fire, which began Aug. 26, 2009, in La Canada/Flintridge, not far from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, had reportedly burned 105,000 acres (164 square miles) of the Angeles National Forest by mid-day Aug. 31, destroying at least 21 homes and threatening more than 12,000 others. It is one of four major fires burning in Southern California at the present time.

This image was acquired mid-morning on Aug. 30 by the backward (northward)-viewing camera of the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite. The image is shown in an approximate perspective view at an angle of 46 degrees off of vertical. The area covered by the image is 245 kilometers (152 miles) wide. Several pyrocumulus clouds, created by the Station Fire, are visible above the smoke plumes rising from the San Gabriel Mountains north of Los Angeles in the left-center of the image. Smoke from the Station fire is seen covering the interior valleys along the south side of the San Gabriel Mountains, along with parts of the City of Los Angeles and Orange County, and can be seen drifting for hundreds of kilometers to the east over the Mojave Desert.

Station_Fire

 

Environmental Impacts:

  • As of today, September 1, the Station Fire has burned 105,296 acres and is 5% contained with 3,655 firefighters currently battling the blaze.

  • The fire began on Wednesday, August 26, and has destroyed 53 structures so far.  At least 10,000 homes, 500 businesses and 2,000 other structures are threatened.

  • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency Friday as a result of the Station Fire and mandatory evacuations have been ordered for the 10,000 homes threatened.

  • Two firefighters lost their lives attempting to contain the fire on Sunday night.

 

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