The California fire season began on May 1, and already several dangerous wildfires are burning across the state. Pictured in this Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from NASA’s Terra satellite on May 4, 2004, is the Cachuma Fire (outlined in red), southeast of the city of Santa Maria (gray patch at upper left of the image) in the San Rafael Mountains. The cause of the fire is currently unknown.
The large-format image is the same spatial resolution as the image above, but shows a wider area of the state, including fires southeast of Los Angeles.
Cachuma Lake is a reservoir in the Santa Ynez Valley of central Santa Barbara County, California on the Santa Ynez River adjoining the north side of California State Route 154. The artificial lake was created by the construction of Bradbury Dam, a 201 ft (61 m) earth-fill structure built by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in 1953. Its surface area covers 3,100 acres (1,300 ha), with a maximum design capacity of 205,000 acre⋅ft (253,000,000 m3), but it is currently limited to 188,000 acre⋅ft (232,000,000 m3) due to sediment accumulation. As of May 23, 2019, it is at 80.8% of capacity.
Credit: Image courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center