On August 11, 2014 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over the Pacific Northwest and captured this true-color image showing multiple fires and heavy smoke across the region.
Over a dozen individual red hotspots accompanied by smoke mark fires burning in Washington state in the southwest section of the image. To the east, two fires burn in western Montana. Heavy fire activity can be seen further north in Canada, especially east of the snow-covered Coastal Range in British Columbia. Additional fires burn in Alberta.
The Pacific Northwest, both in the United States and Canada, has been experiencing dry weather and hot temperatures - a combination that creates high-risk conditions for fire ignition, especially in heavily vegetated areas. Most fires have been ignited by natural causes, particularly lightning strikes.
Fire season began early across the region, and continues unabated. The Wildfire Management Branch of the government of British Columbia reported that there has been 1,255 fires in that province alone from April 1 of this year to August 21, with 312,456 hectares burnt.