NOAA /NASAThe Suomi NPP satellite captured this series of images (transformed into an animated GIF) showing winds changing direction on September 6, 2020, when choking clouds of brown smoke began to float and plummet into the Pacific Ocean. (Dates displayed in the lower left corner.) By September 1
A staggering 3.1 million acres were burned this year in California alone (by CAL fire), which increased from a total of 2.5 million acres as of Wednesday, September 9, 2020. In addition, 805,314 acres were lost in Oregon (State of Oregon Fires and Hotspots Dashboard, 9:30 am EDT on September 11) and 500,000 acres (Northwest Interagency Coordination Center) in Washington State. Winds blowing from the west fueled the fires and helped spread them rapidly, as evidenced by the growth of more than half a million acres in less than two days.
This year there were 12 deaths caused by fires.
Records were broken during this fire season and experts continue to blame drought, excessive heat and strong winds for this tragedy. As the climate continues to change, scientists also believe these types of fire events will not only continue, but get worse. National Interagency Fire Center predictive metronologist Nick Nausler tweeted, “Over the past few days, California, Oregon and Washington have run more than 20 miles in 24 hours. Such distances traveled so quickly may not be so rare in pasture fires. However, most of these fires are producing huge runs in lumber and burning tens of thousands of acres and in some cases over 100,000 acres in one day. The huge amount of fire on the landscape is surreal. “
NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) Worldview application offers the ability to interactively browse over 700 levels of full-resolution global satellite imagery and then download the underlying data. Many of the available image layers are updated within three hours of observation, essentially showing the entire Earth as it appears “right now”. Fires that actively burn, detected by the thermal bands, are indicated as red dots. Image Courtesy: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS).