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NASA's MISR Sees California's Woolsey Fire From Space (Anaglyph)
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NASA's MISR Sees California's Woolsey Fire From Space (Anaglyph)

On November 8, 2018, amid strong Santa Ana winds, two fires ignited in Ventura County in California: the Hill and the Woolsey fires. While the Hill Fire was contained to 4,500 acres, the Woolsey Fire crossed the 101 freeway the following day and quickly burned across the Santa Monica Mountains, forcing hundreds of thousands to evacuate in Thousand Oaks, West Hills, and the seaside city of Malibu.

Data from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite was used to produce this stereo anaglyph of the Woolsey Fire in southern California on Nov. 11, 2018. It shows a three-dimensional view of the smoke plume – visible through red-blue 3D glasses.

At this point, the fire had charred more than 90,000 acres and was 20 percent contained. While conditions on the Woolsey Fire were relatively calm on the morning of November 11, shown by the small active plumes surrounding Malibu, a very large amount of smoke was still present in the area from previous fire activity. The air quality in the region was severely impacted by the fires, with a nearby monitoring station in El Rio recording a maximum reading of 279 µg/m3 of dangerous PM2.5 air pollution (particles less than 2.5 micrometers in size) on November 11 – an amount deemed “hazardous” on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index scale. The Central Valley is also smoke-covered, partly due to the Mountaineer Fire, another small fire in the Sierra visible in the northern region of image. However, much of the smoke is from the devastating Camp Fire north of Sacramento. Both these fires also started on November 8.

The MISR data, available through the NASA Langley Research Center, were captured during Terra orbit 100531. MISR was built and is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. The instrument flies aboard the Terra satellite, which is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The MISR data were obtained from the NASA Langley Research Center Atmospheric Science Data Center in Hampton, Virginia. JPL is a division of Caltech in Pasadena. More information about MISR is available at

Credit: NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL-Caltech, MISR Team