November 8, 2010 - Fires in Oregon and Idaho

Fires in Oregon and Idaho

Autumn brings cool, wet weather to the forests of the northwest United States, reducing the risk of wildfire. However, on October 21, 2010 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite passed over the region and captured this true-color image of numerous fires burning throughout Oregon, Idaho and Washington.

Despite the damp weather, autumn is the fall harvest season, when agricultural fires - fires deliberately set to aid in harvesting of crops or readying land for harvest are common. In the forests of the northwest, September through October are the prime months for prescribed burns, a forest management tool used to rejuvenate the forest and reduce the fuel load to minimize the risk of catastrophic wildfires.

On the date this image was captured, no major wildfires were reported burning in any of the states. However, a large prescribed burn was reported in Lake Ellen, Washington, located in the image at the southernmost red hotspot entirely within the boundary of that state. Idaho reported numerous prescribed burns planned throughout October. The fires captured in this image occur primarily in the forests, rather than fields, and are, therefore, mostly likely mostly the result of prescribed burning.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 10/21/2010
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC