NASA Earth Observatory photo captures Western wildfire smoke

North American wildfires seen from space--NASA Earth Observatory

North American wildfires seen from space–NASA Earth Observatory

NASA satellite images taken this weekend picked up smoke plumes coming from fires in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Read more about the images on NASA’s Earth Observatory website. 

Pyrocumulus clouds seen from space--NASA Earth Observatory.

Pyrocumulus clouds seen from space–NASA Earth Observatory.


Canada: Dense smoke blankets BC, fires spread in the interior

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 3.02.18 PM

Thick smoke from fires in British Columbia, Alberta, and the Northwest Territories is drifting across Canada, prompting health warnings and the early turning on of night-time street lights.

There are around 155 fires burning around the country, some of which have forced the evacuation of entire towns and shut down portions of the scenic Icefields Parkway.

Some updates on fires we’ve been following:

  • The Smith Creek Fire in West Kelowna, in BC’s interior, doubled in size since it ignited. It’s now at 400 hectares (just under 1,000 acres) and has forced 2,500 residents to evacuate their homes. Kelowna is no stranger to wildfire–in 2003, the area was ravaged by the Okanagan Mountain Fire.
  • The Spreading Creek Fire in Banff National Park is still burning but is considered under control.
  • The Mount McAllister Fire forced the evacuation of Hudson’s Hope, a small town northeastern BC. Town residents were allowed to return home on Thursday, but the fire continues to burn. The fire was at 16,000 hectares (around 40,000 acres) on Friday and was zero percent contained, local media reported. 

Canadian smoke drifts into the United States

Wildfire Smoke, July 1, 2014

Smoke from wildfires. WeatherUnderground.

Today’s map of smoke from wildfires indicates that fires in northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories is drifting into Montana and the northern Great Plains. The fires in southwest Arizona and northern New Mexico are also creating a significant amount of smoke in the southwest.

The small icons represent the locations of wildfires.


Smoke in the Southwest and Canada

Smoke from Oak, Diego, and San Juan Fires, 6-30-2014

Smoke from Oak, Diego, and San Juan Fires, 6-30-2014. Wildfire Today and WeatherUnderground

Smoke from three fires in southwest Arizona and northern New Mexico is having a significant impact in those states as well as in parts of Texas Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kansas.

But that smoke is small potatoes compared to what is going on in northern Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and off the coast of New Brunswick. The smoke that is now over the Atlantic probably drifted across much of Canada and parts of New England.

Smoke in Canada and US

There is not much current information available about the Diego Fire on the Santa Fe National Forests in New Mexico, but we determined that it is 25 miles northwest of Los Alamos, 7 miles southwest of Coyote, and 67 miles north of Albuquerque. It is listed at 1,000 acres at Inciweb, but it appears to be much larger than that in the satellite imagery we have seen.

The Oak and San Juan Fires in southwest Arizona are listed at 11,000 and 5,700 acres, respectively.