Montana's Custer National Forest
Montana’s Dugan fire was discovered in Custer National Forest as recently as September 14, 2012.
In this image, the light spots within the smoke plume are the tops of pyrocumulus clouds, towering clouds provoked by the fire and rising above the smoke layer. Such clouds form when intense heat from a fire pushes air high into the atmosphere. Pyrocumulus clouds sometimes generate intense thunderstorms that can either dampen the flames with drenching rains or propel the fire with strong winds.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image on September 15, 2012. Red outlines indicate hot spots where MODIS detected unusually warm surface temperatures associated with fires.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Adam Voiland.