Western US wildfires, as seen from space

NASA/NOAA GOES Project. Caption: NASA Goddard, Rob Gutro

The NASA GOES-15 satellite captured this image of the western United States which shows smoke from fires in many states creating a brownish-colored blanket over the region.

The dawn's early light revealed smoke and haze throughout the Midwest, arising from forest fires throughout the Rockies. While the most publicized fires occur along the populous eastern range in Colorado, the great smoke plumes in this image came from Wyoming. NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-15, captured this visible image on June 28 at 1245 UTC (8:45 a.m. EDT). This image was created by the NASA GOES Project at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.


More images at the NASA fire coverage site.


  1. I’m chilling right here in Denver, thankfully unaffected other than it being hazy around here quite often. And red.

    The entire southwest is really just ready to burst into flames. Has been for a while. These fires are going to continue to burn, and more to come, as a result of 100 years of fire suppression.

    1. It’s intense if you’re driving anywhere near a fire at night, it truly appears as if entire mountainsides are on fire. Which they are.

  2. Between this and the year without a winter (in my local; Southern Nevada in the USA, it was warmer during Nov-Dec-Jan than it was in May and May unremarkable temperature-wise), it sure is getting Global-Warming outside…

  3. The link needs some help.

    Also: the USGS has some cooler images from LANDSAT satellites: http://eros.usgs.gov/#/About_Us/Views_of_the_News

    Because LANDSAT’s sensors are not mere optical cameras you can extract various data from the imagery. They’ve highlighted the areas that are burned, and you can see in the images some of the areas that are currently burning.

      1. Ooooh, that makes a lot more sense. In my defence that’s grey, not brown; so I was looking at the brown stuff (so I’d assumed the grey stuff was just clouds).

        Thanks for the context!

          1. Oh, my friend, I’m British; we’re all about the weather. But if you looked at a satellite view of the UK you’d probably think the whole island was on fire (but in that case they really would just be clouds).

          2. @NathanHornby:disqus Yeah, it rains a lot in the UK.  We get that.  Our obsessions tend to be more along the lines of “will the weather bring death with it today?” more than “when the fuck are we ever going to see the sun again?”

    1. Now that’s a picture I didn’t pull out of the internet tonight, I’ve had it in a folder for nine years.
      Points of origin of fires are represented by red dots, in that particular 2003 wind event, fires generated from so many points, red dots turn into godawful smears.

  4. Thanks for posting this. I can see flames from my house here in Colorado, and  I feel like images like this help to give a little context to people who aren’t directly experiencing the craziness here.

    1. People don’t get the scale of these things. I’ve watched fires in Southern California that were 50 miles away and I could quite distinctly see the flames leaping up.

  5. It’s not getting much press, but on  Tuesday someone on the Northern Cheyenne reservation in Montana dropped a match (or somesuch) and 24 hours later 172 square miles had been burned over.

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