Hot temperatures stoked wildfires across the western United States. Therefore high humidity, and windy conditions fanned wildfires across the western United States in July and early August 2016. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a true-color image of some of these fires on July 31.
The two most notable fires in this image are the Range 12 Fire in Yakima County, Washington (northwest) and the Pioneer Fire burning in southwestern Idaho. Both fires show multiple red hotspots clustered together with gray smoke rising from those hotspots. This combination is diagnostic for actively burning fire. Hot temperatures stoked wildfires across the western United States
The Range 12 Fire started on July 30, 2016, about 12 miles north of Sunnyside, Washington. According to Inciweb Incident Information System, the fire moved from the Yakima Training Center onto Bureau of Land Management, state, and private lands. Wind drove the fast growth of the fire in the sage and grasslands. As of August 5, the fire has consumed 176,000 acres and is 95% contained.
About 56,700 acres of the burned acreage was listed as “Sage Grouse Acres” – land that supports the breeding of an important population of the Greater Sage Grouse. The Greater Sage Grouse has been listed as a Threatened species in Washington State since 1998. NASA’S view.
The Pioneer Fire is burning in southwestern Idaho in the Sawtooth National Forest, about 8 miles north of Idaho City. It began July 18 due to an unknown cause. As of August 5 the fire had destroyed two structures and covered 51,903 acres as 1,489 personnel fought the fire. The fire was 27 percent contained as of that date.
Fire-control efforts have been hampered by the incursion of drones over the fire area, which caused the grounding of firefighting aircraft during operations. Fire managers issued this statement in late July: “Aviation operations once again stopped for 45 minutes during a critical period of fire suppression due to an unmanned aircraft incursion. If you fly, we can’t, please do not fly drones in or near the fire area”. According to Wildfire Today, drone incursions have become increasingly common, with incident management teams in California and Montana reported halting air operations to drones in the area.