Multiple clusters of fires burned in British Columbia, sending a thick plume of smoke over the Pacific Ocean in mid-August 2010. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image on August 13.
East of the snowcapped Coast Mountains, numerous fires, many of them clustered into large groups, send smoke plumes toward the south-southwest and west-southwest. Red outlines—most of them at the bases of smoke plumes—indicate unusually high surface temperatures associated with actively burning fires. Over the Pacific Ocean, smoke has coalesced into a large plume that blows past the northwestern tip of Vancouver Island. Over the Coast Mountains, skies are clear. The clear-sky gap between the active fires and the plume over the Pacific might result from a temporary shift in wind direction.
On August 15, 2010, the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre reported that, over the previous 24 hours, a dozen new fires had started in British Columbia, half of them from lightning, and the other half from human activity. On August 16, The Globe and Mail reported that more than three-fourths of British Columbia was under high or extreme wildfire danger, following a weekend of scorching temperatures. On August 19, the Canadian Broadcasting Company reported at least 270 active fires continuing, with more than 1,980 square kilometers of forest burned in British Columbia this year.