Smoke from California wildfires

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Smoke from devastating, widespread wildfires in California in November 2018, was seen by Sentinel-3.

Date & Time
11 November 2018 18:22 UTC and 23:30 UTC
Sentinel-3, GOES-16
True Colour RGB, GeoColor

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.

Figure 1
Figure 1: Sentinel-3 OLCI True Colour RGB, 11 Nov 2018 18:22 UTC

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.

Figure 2
Figure 2: Sentinel-3 OLCI True Colour RGB, 11 Nov 2018 18:22 UTC

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.

Figure 3
Figure 3: GOES-16 GeoColor, 11 Nov 2018 23:30 UTC
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