9 thoughts on “Wildfire smoke map, August 19, 2017”

    1. Maybe one day NOAA will include a legend on their map.

      The red dots represent heat on fires detected by a satellite. The green areas are boundaries and coastlines. Complex coastlines have squiggly green lines that on a large scale like this blend together.

  1. Thanks Bill! I saw a red dot near Columbia SC where I live but wasn’t sure why there was one there when other capitols weren’t marked but we do have the slogan down here in the summer as being Famously Hot! No wildfires that I’m aware of though.

  2. Hi all,

    My office generates these maps. Thanks for the comments. We create these using satellite imagery and they are all quality controlled and produced by analysts who view hundreds of images per day. As Bill has mentioned, the red dots are heat sources. We think they are all fires but know that we have some false detects that are related to industrial facilities, power plants, heat islands, etc. Also, many of the actual fires we detect are not wildfires but are agricultural in nature or prescribed burns.

    The smoke in the images is broken into 3 rough categories – light, medium and dense smoke. The largest, outermost plume outline is light smoke and the darkest shade and innermost plume is the heaviest smoke. Much of the smoke we see and include in our analysis is not near the ground where you would smell the smoke but rather is aloft, often several thousand feet high. If you have access to google earth you can view the same analysis from our web page (http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/Products/land/hms.html) and click on the ‘google KML files’ links for fire, smoke and HYSPLIT in the upper right hand of the web page. With the google earth display you can zoom in to your area of interest and turn on/off the various layers of data. There is a legend in the google earth display. We will look into creating a legend for the jpg.

    Mark Ruminski – Fire Program Team Lead
    NOAA/NESDIS Satellite Analysis Branch

    1. Thanks Mark, great info. The efforts of all of you are very much appreciated!

      Retired C.D.F. / Orange County Fire Authority

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