NOAA /NASAOn September 6, 2020, the Suomi NPP satellite captured these series of images (made in an animated GIF) showing the changing direction of the winds, when clouds of gray smoke began to blow and spawn in the Pacific Ocean. (Dates are displayed in the lower left corner.) By September 10, smoke clouds had covered 1,300 miles. Square miles of smoke in the figure below totaling 963,269. That estimate has been calculated using the measurement tool within the NASA Worldview application.
An astounding 3.1 million acres have been lit this year in California alone (per CAL fire), totaling over 2.5 million acres as of Wednesday, September 9, 2020. In addition, the state of Oregon has lost 805,314 acres to Oregon Fire and Hotspot Dashboard, 9:30 AM EDT September 11 in Washington State) and 500,000 acres (Northwest Interagency Coordination Center). Winds blowing from the west are spewing fires and helping them spread as they grow to more than one and a half million acres in less than two days.
There have been 12 forest fires related deaths this year.
Records have been broken during this fire season and experts blame drought, excessive heat and strong winds for the tragedy. As the climate changes, scientists also believe that incidents of this type of fire will not only continue, but will worsen. Nick Naussler, chief meteorologist for the National Intelligence Fire Center, tweeted, “I have run more than 20 miles in 24 hours in the last few days in California, Oregon and Washington.” Trips so far are probably not rare in the meadow. However, most of these fires are large-scale runs of wood and burning tens of acres and in some cases over 100,000 acres a day. The huge amount of fire on the landscape is real. ”
NASA’s Earth Observation System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) worldview application provides the ability to browse over 700 global, full-resolution satellite imagery layers and then download the underlying data. Many of the available imagery layers are updated within three hours of observation, essentially showing the entire Earth as it “looks” right now. The actively burning fire, detected by the thermal band, is shown as red dots. Image courtesy: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS).