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California Emergency as Huge Yosemite Fire ‘Rim Fire’ Doubles in Size

37.8N 119.5W

August 26th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Fires VIIRSSuomi-NPP

USA – August 24th, 2013

Night Image – Fire Front

Firefighters in California are struggling to gain control of a huge wildfire which has reached the edge of Yosemite National Park. The Rim Fire covers nearly 225 sq miles (582 sq km) and threatens a major reservoir serving San Francisco.

The detail image shows the extent of the fire front. The image acquired during the day of the 24 August can be compared with the image taken at night on the same day.

The fire is just 7% contained after burning for more than a week, officials say, up from 2% containment on Friday. Strong winds have fanned the flames closer to nearby towns raising the risk of flying debris sparking more fires.

More than 5,000 homes are endangered by the blaze, which began on 17 August from still unknown causes in the Stanislaus National Forest.

Fire in Gila National Forest, New Mexico, USA – June 28th, 2013

33.6N 108.6W

June 28th, 2013 Category: Fires, Image of the day MODISTerra

USA – June 27th, 2013

Smoke from a large fire in the Gila National Forest, in New Mexico, west of the Rio Grande (running parallel to the right edge), can be seen fanning out over a great area as it blows westward. The Gila National Forest covers approximately 2,710,659 acres (1,100,000 ha) of public land. Terrain ranges from rugged mountains and deep canyons to semi-desert. Due to the extremely rugged terrain, the area is largely unspoiled.

Sunglint on Lakes and Fire in Southern USA

32.7N 96.8W

June 28th, 2013 Category: Fires, Lakes MODISTerra

USA – June 26th, 2013

Many lakes and reservoirs, highlighted by sunglint and thus appearing silvery green in color, dot the left half of this image of Texas and Lousiana, in southern USA. In the lower right quadrant, a fire can be seen releasing a plume of smoke that blows towards the northeast.

Climate Change Fuelling Colorado Wildfires – June 27th, 2013

38.0N 108W

June 28th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Fires, Image of the day VIIRSSuomi-NPP

USA – June 26th, 2013

Smoke billows forth from wildfires blazing in the forests of the Rocky Mountains, in the state of Colorado, USA. These fires have already consumed 125 square miles and are zero percent contained.

What’s propelling these fires are dry conditions made worse by strong winds and an ongoing spruce-beetle infestation. The beetles tunnel under bark, laying eggs that will eventually kill trees. Scientists have reached a┬áconsensus that climate change is to blame:

North America is witnessing the largest pine-beetle epidemic in recorded history. From Canada’s Yukon Territory to New Mexico, pine trees by the hundreds of millions are succumbing to a fungus that the beetles carry. The pine needles of infected trees first turn a violent red, then they fall, and, finally, the dead tree topples over. Year by year, communities have watched a scourge advance across mountainsides and through neighborhoods, trees turning from green to red to gray. The beetles now attack 12 pine species, from the high-elevation whitebark pine to the lower-elevation ponderosa and pi├▒on. The blight has devastated 3.3 million acres in Colorado alone since the 1990s.

Beetles kill, die off, and regenerate, all of which is part of a lodgepole pine forest’s natural life cycle. But human activity helped set the stage for the current epidemic. Decades of fire suppression have left the West with dense stands of vulnerable, elderly trees. Climate has also played a role. Frigid winters that usually kill the beetles have become, over the past 20 years, the exception rather than the rule. Earlier snowmelt and longer summers have altered the beetles’ range and life cycle; they now attack pines at higher altitudes and latitudes, and they reproduce twice a year instead of once. Earlier springs and a series of dry years have also weakened trees, turning them into ideal beetle food (click here for more information).

Fires in Colorado and New Mexico, USA

36.9N 106.5W

June 24th, 2013 Category: Fires, Volcanoes MODISAqua

USA – June 24th, 2013

Several wildfires can be seen burning in the forests of Colorado (above) and New Mexico (below), USA, in this image. Winds are carrying the thick plumes of smoke towards the northeast. In the full image, another blaze can be seen west of the Carrizozo lava field.

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