NASA Spacecraft Monitors Continuing Burn of Arizona's Largest-Ever Wildfire
The Wallow fire is the largest fire ever to occur in Arizona. Started on May 29, 2011, the wildfire has consumed more than 527,000 acres (820 square miles) but has destroyed less than 40 structures. In this image from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft, acquired June 21, vegetation appears in red, bare ground in shades of tan, burned areas in black and very-dark red; and smoke from the active fire front on the southeast side of the burned area appears gray. The image covers an area of 32.1 by 39.1 miles (51.8 by 63 kilometers), and is located at 33.6 degrees north latitude, 109.4 degrees west longitude.
With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region and its high spatial resolution of 15 to 90 meters (about 50 to 300 feet), ASTER images Earth to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet. ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched Dec. 18, 1999, on Terra. The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and data products.
The broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution of ASTER provides scientists in numerous disciplines with critical information for surface mapping and monitoring of dynamic conditions and temporal change. Example applications are: monitoring glacial advances and retreats; monitoring potentially active volcanoes; identifying crop stress; determining cloud morphology and physical properties; wetlands evaluation; thermal pollution monitoring; coral reef degradation; surface temperature mapping of soils and geology; and measuring surface heat balance.
The U.S. science team is located at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C.
More information about ASTER is available at http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/