May 4, 2013 - Springs Fire near Los Angeles, California

Springs Fire near Los Angles, California

Strong winds quickly fanned a brush fire into a “monster fire” near Los Angeles, California in early May 2013. Igniting early in the morning of May 2, by the morning of May 3 the Springs Fire had consumed 10,000 acres as its flames marched westward, forcing thousands of people living in several communities to evacuate.

By the evening of May 3, Cal Fire reported 18,000 acres had been burned, with the fire only 20% contained. At that time, the fire had damaged 15 residences, 5 commercial properties, and 15 outbuildings, but threatened an additional 50 outbuildings, 300 commercial properties and 4,000 residences.

The Springs Fire has been fueled by strong, gusty winds, high heat and low humidity, and is burning is rugged terrain. The winds have been gusting from the northeast, pushing the fire towards the coast, but Cal Fire reported that the winds were expected to shift, and blow from the west. This could cause a strong shift in the fires direction. A Red Flag Warning for high fire danger remains in effect for much of Southern California.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image on May 2, at 18:15 UTC (11:15 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time) – only a little more than four hours after it was first reported at 7:01 a.m..

The red “hotspot” marks areas where MODIS’s thermal bands detected high heat which were caused, in this case, by actively burning fire. A thick plume of gray smoke pours from the fire and stretches westward across the Pacific Ocean.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 5/2/2013
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC