Smoke from devastating, widespread wildfires in California in November 2018, was seen by Sentinel-3.
04 May 2023
10 November 2018
By Ivan Smiljanic (SCISYS) and Sancha Lancaster (Pactum)
On November 8, fires broke out in several places in the north and southwestern California. The largest, in the northern part of the state, known as Camp Fire, spread in one day to an area of more than 30,000 hectares. By 13 November it was reported it had devastated at least 47,000 hectares, with 30% confinement . it was reported to be the deadliest wildfire to hit California in 85 years.
The Sentinel-3 OLCI True Colour RGB image (Figure 1) shows from various locations steaming out over the Pacific on 11 November. The observed domain is filled with smoke with almost no clouds seen.
The Woolsey Fire, in the southern part of the state, was reported to have burned more than 37,000 hectare and destroyed 435 structures , including large swathes of the coastal area of Malibu. Figure 2 shows the smoke plumes over Malibu on 11 November.
A wider view over the affected area, seen on the GOES-16 GeoColor image (Figure 3) reveals the smoke accumulation, mostly over the Pacific waters. This is the result of mainly westward air mass advection during days of fire activity.
Woolsey Fire in southern California (CIMSS Blog)
Camp Fire in northern California (CIMSS Blog)
California Wildfires Updates: 42 Deaths Make Camp Fire Deadliest in State History (New York Times)
Other North American smoke cases
Impact of California 2020 fires on atmospheric composition
Using satellite data to investigate the atmospheric impact of the 2020 California fires.
Extensive smoke from Canadian wildfires
Smoke from wildfires in Alberta, Canada travelled as far as parts of Europe and Russia.
Canadian smoke moves towards North Atlantic
Smoke from the wildfires in Alberta, Canada, seen moving towards North Atlantic in May.
Plumes of smoke drifting from America to Europe
On 25 June 2013, smoke from the large wildfires in Colorado (USA) reached Europe.
Smoke from Canadian fires seen over Europe
On 13 June smoke from wildfires in Canada travelled over parts of Northern Europe.