September 15, 2021 - Smoke from Western U.S. Wildfires over the East Coast


A broad gray haze hung over the East Coast of the United States in mid-September 2021, dimming daytime skies and creating spectacular sunsets. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s Terra satellite acquired a true-color image of the scene on September 13. The states primarily affected by the haze are Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware.

The gray haze comes primarily from scores of wildfires burning in the Western United States—a distance of more than 2,300 miles (3,700 km). According to CAL FIRE, 15 large fires were burning across California on September 14, with the largest fire, the Dixie Fire scorching about 960,470 acres since it first ignited on July 13. It is currently 75 percent contained. A large number of fires are also burning in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, while Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and Montana each have a handful of fires reported.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 9/13/2021
Resolutions: 1km (589.1 KB), 500m (2.2 MB), 250m (6.8 MB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC