May 28, 2014 - Funny River Fire, southern Alaska

Funny River Fire, southern Alaska

On May 26, 2014 the Funny River Fire continued to burn in southern Alaska, consuming thousands of acres of forests made up of black spruce, mixed hardwood and spruce, as well as old beetle-killed forest stands and grass. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying aboard the Terra satellite captured a true-color image of the blaze at 21:45 UTD (5:45 p.m. EDT) that same day.

In this image, red marks “hotspots”, where the thermal bands on the instrument detected high temperatures (in this case, actively burning fire) and the smoke from the fire appears gray. The smoke rises over the fire area, then blows strongly to the southeast. Smoke appears to mingle with a bank of white clouds in several areas. A patch of dark gray smoke appears to actually hang above the clouds to the southeast.

The Funny River Fire began on May 19 at about 7:00 p.m., and was started by human activity. On May 26 at 9:30 a.m. local time, the Alaska Interagency Incident Management Type 2 Team reported on the status of the fire through the multi-agency Incident Information System known as Inciweb. At that time the fire was reported as 30 percent contained and had affected 158,585 acres. The report noted that the Funny River Fire crossed the Kenai River Sunday afternoon (May 26) near Torpedo Lake just east of the Kenai Keys.

The fire continued to burn, and at 3:00 p.m. on May 27, a total of 182,009 acres had been consumed, and containment remained at 30%. The clouds seen in this image helped firefighting, as .03 – 0.6 inches of rain fell on the blaze during the night of May 26-27. Cooler, wetter weather is predicted for the next day at least, and hope is that this will help the firefighting effort – but the Inciweb report cautions that several consecutive days of appreciable moisture are needed to alter the overall fire activity.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 5/26/2014
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC