Sunday, September 1, 2013

9/1/13 8:45 am: Google Earth satellite image of Sunday morning fires near Yellowstone Park

This morning's data map above shows two active fires anywhere near Yellowstone National Park.  Our fires within the park were NOT active enough in the last six days to show up on this map.  This morning only small wisps of smoke are coming from our most active fire, the Alum fire.  Skies are clear and beautiful.

Two Earth Observation System scientific satellites, launched in 1999 and 2002, carry instruments called a MODIS (moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer) that detect unusual sources of heat on the earth's surface.  Programmer have refined that data to use it to detect fire spread.  The two satellites together deliver fresh data every few hours that show wildfire spread, accurate to within two miles or so.  This data is NOT used to make tactical decisions.  You can download a file that uses Google Earth to show this almost real-time estimate of fire growth for United States locations: click on "current fire detections" at .

The Burrough Fire, southeast of Yellowstone Park on the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming, grew to 1,000 acres and prompted evacuations, while the Two Top Fire, west of the park outside West Yellowstone, Montana, increased to 130 acres.  Activity was minimal on all the other fires in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.  Our fires are all quite small compared to California's Rim Fire, which has topped 222,000 acres. 

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