NASA’s ECOSTRESS Maps Surface Temperature Around Scorching California Fires

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On September 6, NASA’s ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) imaged active fires across California, including the El Dorado fire near Yucaipa and the Valley fire in Japatul Valley in the southern part of the state. As of September 8, there were 25 major wildfires burning in California.

Both images, taken at 12:13 a.m. PDT (3:13 a.m. EDT), show multiple concentrated areas of surface temperatures (in red) higher than 375 degrees Fahrenheit (191 degrees Celsius). These high-temperature regions were likely where the active fires were occurring. The surrounding areas show abnormally warm middle-of-the-night background surface temperatures (orange) due to the ongoing heatwave.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California built and manages the ECOSTRESS mission for the Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. ECOSTRESS is an Earth Venture Instrument mission; the program is managed by NASA’s Earth System Science Pathfinder program at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Future studies could use ECOSTRESS data products in a similar fashion as land surface temperature was used to assess the fires pictured above.

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