California’s worst fire season typically comes in the fall, but severe drought and unusually warm weather have helped sustain several major fires in Northern California during August.
August 19, 2021 Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) at NOAA-NASA Finnish nuclear power plant satellite got a natural-colored picture (above) of raging fires in California. Although smoke has often blown west in recent weeks, changing winds have begun to darken the skies in northern and central California, causing air quality alerts Sacramento and San Francisco.
The Dixie fire, which was 35 percent held on August 20, has grown into a fire second-largest fire in california. In addition to more than 2,600 square kilometers of charring, the flame has destroyed at least 1,225 buildings, including hundreds of homes Greenville, California. It recently crossed the ridge of the Sierra Nevada – what California firefighters have never observed before the fire.
One of the newest and most disturbing fires burned east of Sacramento. Although initially small, Caldor’s fire exploded in size on August 16 as the wind picked up, forcing thousands of people from their homes and destroying much of the city of Grizzly Flats. According to Cal Firen, on August 20, it was completely non-precipitating.
More than 11,000 firefighters have been sent to Northern California to fight these and several other fires. August 19 Operational Land Imager (WAS) on Landsat 8 got a closer look (second photo) of two fires- Monument and McFarland fires, the second and third largest fires currently burning in California. The McFarland fire was capped at 52 percent on August 20; the monument fire was 10 percent.
Emissions from forest fires in California are rising. According to Mark Parrington, a researcher with the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, estimates of carbon emissions from state forest fires in June-August are the highest every two years in nearly two decades.
Parrington uses satellite-based technology to track fire emissions Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS). CAMS provides estimates of near real-time emissions from forest fires Global Fire Assimilation System (GFAS), which equates NASA’s observations of fires Aqua and Terra satellites. The record for emissions data dates from 2003 to the present.
Inside something recent report the intergovernmental panel on climate change was drawn by scientists unambiguous link between human activity and global warming. The authors of the report also referred to findings showing an increase in drought and fires in the western United States. They expect this trend to more severe fire weather in the western United States to continue in the future.
NASA Earth Observatory images by Lauren Dauphin, using Landsat data United States Geological Survey and VIIRS data from NASA EOSDIS LANCE, GIBS / worldview, and Finland’s national Polar touring partnership. Story: Adam Voiland.