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From: Dan Richter (1:317/3)
To: All
Date: Sun, 06.06.21 13:00
MODIS Pic of the Day 06 June 2021
June 6, 2021 - Burn Scars in California


Burn Scars in California

On Monday, May 3, 2021, the National Weather Service in Sacramento,
California posted a Red Flag Warning for fire danger which spanned a
swath from north of Redding to south of Sacramento. The Warning stated,
“Critical fire weather conditions will continue through Tuesday
afternoon due to gusty north winds and dry conditions. Please practice
fire safety!”. Although no large fires ignited during that time, the
warning signaled an early start to the California wildfire season,
which traditionally has been said to start in late May and end around
October. In recent years, the fire season has extended beyond the
tradition season and the risk for very large fires have increased,
thanks to increasingly warm, dry, and gusty conditions.

The 2020 fire season was particularly difficult, especially from an
unprecedented outburst of dry lighting that struck in August, igniting
dozens of fires across the state of California. With heat waves and dry
weather across most of the state, the fires charred millions of acres,
consuming not just forests but also destroying homes, businesses, and
lives. Thirty-three people died across California due to wildfire in
2020. Large wildfires cause severe and dramatic damage as they sweep
across an area. Swift-moving fires may seem to strike, damage, then
disappear—but that is not the case. Fire leaves marks upon the
landscape that can last for years.

On June 2, 2021, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
(MODIS) on board NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired a false-color image of
northern California, showing the scars left by several years of fire.
The false-color image uses visible and near-infrared light (MODIS bands
7,2,1) to help separate burn scars from vegetation. Burn scars – which
may appear black, brown, or brick red - stand out in stark contrast to
vegetation, which appears bright green. Open land appears tan, deep
water is colored deep blue, and clouds may appear either white or
tinted with electric blue. The color variation in burn scars depends on
type of vegetation burned, the completeness of the burn, the amount of
residue remaining after the burn, and the age of the burn.

Many of the scars in this image are from the Lightning Complex fires
which burned in late 2020, but many are from other or older fires as
well. Newer burn scars appear darker in color. As vegetation begins to
regrow in burnt areas, the scars begin to take on a greenish tint and
become lighter. The darkest green areas which cluster together against
a backdrop of lighter green mark agricultural areas in the Sacramento
Valley. This agricultural area lies just south of Chico and north of

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 6/2/2021
Resolutions: 1km (363.1 KB), 500m (884.4 KB), 250m (538.9
Bands Used: 7,2,1
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC

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