New Fires Scorch the Hills of Southern California

by | Dec 7, 2020

Fire season in California generally peaks from May through October. But as global temperatures have risen, so too has the state's risk for fall season fires.

This image (acquired on Dec. 3, 2020, with the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite) shows late-autumn fires burning southeast of Los Angeles, alongside scars of fires from earlier this year. 

The Airport fire ignited on December 1 near an airport and the city of Corona. By December 3, the fire had burned 750 acres and was 10 percent contained.

A second, more-widespread fire in the Silverado Canyon area of Orange County ignited on Dec. 2, 2020. Orange County Fire Authority officials estimated that the Bond fire had burned 7,200 acres as of December 3. That number was revised the next day to 6,400 acres as smoke- and fire-mapping technology allowed fire managers to make a more-accurate assessment. Evacuation orders were lifted in some areas on December 4, but remained in effect for about 20,000 people.

The false-color image combines shortwave infrared, near-infrared and red light (OLI bands 7, 5, 4), which is better for showing the location of active fires (bright red). Intact vegetation is green, and cities and infrastructure are gray. The band combination also does a better job of cutting through the smoke to reveal the burn scars from previous fires (muted red-brown).

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Lauren Dauphin, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. 



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