On Monday afternoon, November 25, 2002. Late Season Fires in California. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of fires (red outlines) burning in California. At upper right is Lake Tahoe, on the California-Nevada border.
At lower left is San Francisco. Plumes of smoke stream westward from the fires, which are burning in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Other fires are scattered across the state, and in the full scene, what could be a mixture of smoke and urban air pollution is nestled into the San Joaquin Valley.
In terms of property damage, 2017 was the most destructive wildfire season. Therefore on record in California at the time, with a total of 9,133 fires burning 1,381,405 acres (5,590.35 km2) of land. Also according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, including five of the 20 most destructive wildland-urban interface fires in the state’s history. Throughout 2017, the fires destroyed or damaged more than 10,000 structures in the state (destroyed 9,470, damaged 810). Although a higher tally than the previous nine years combined. State data showed that the large wildfires killed 47 people – 45 civilians and 2 firefighters – almost higher than the previous 10 years combined. The total property damage was surpassed by the 2018 California wildfires.
Credit: Image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC