How Satellites Predict Wildfire Spread

Unique nighttime imagery sensors help rescuers anticipate a fire’s evolution based on temperature and smoke plume movement.

NOAA-NASA’s Suomi NPP weather satellite, which is part of JPSS, was able to image this nighttime image of the California fires on Aug. 20, 2020. This image does not have the Visible Fire Product active showing the outline of the fires. City lights are scattered in this image by smoke. Fires are noted. [Credit: NOAA/NASA/William Straka U of W-Madison/CIMSS/SSEC]
NOAA-NASA’s Suomi NPP was able to image this nighttime image of the California fires on Aug. 20, 2020. This image has the Visible Fire Product active fire outlines can be seen by the yellow lines. City lights are scattered in this image by smoke. [Credit: NOAA/NASA/William Straka U of W-Madison/CIMSS/SSEC]
The VIIRS sensor onboard the NOAA-20 satellite captured this imagery of the smoke as it passed by the region on Aug. 19. The reddish points show the heat signature intensity of the fires. Red points are the hottest fires, followed by orange and yellow. [Credit: NOAA]

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