Missouri Breaks Complex Fire, Montana • Earth.com

Last update: December 6th, 2019 at 8:00 am

Missouri Breaks Complex Fire, Montana. Southwest of Fort Peck Reservoir in eastern Montana, just east of where the Musselshell River flows in from the south to join the Missouri, a few small fires (red dots) detected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite on July 19, 2003, burned rapidly toward each other over the course of the day. By the next day, the Missouri Breaks Complex Fire—composed of the Big Coulee, Ghost Coulee, Indian, and Germaine Fires—had grown explosively. By July 23, it had grown to more than 117, 000 acres of timber and grassland, forcing evacuations from at least 23 homes. This series of images from the Aqua and Terra MODIS sensors tracks the fire throughout July 2003.

Montana is the fourth-largest in area, the 8th least populous, and the third-least densely populated of the 50 U.S. states. The western half of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller island ranges are found throughout the state. In all, 77 named ranges are part of the Rocky Mountains. The eastern half of Montana is characterized by western prairie terrain and badlands. Montana is bordered by Idaho to the west, Wyoming to the south, North Dakota and South Dakota to the east, and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan to the north.

Credit: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

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