Nearly 20 large wildland fires are currently raging in the western United States, fueled by severe and extreme drought conditions and high daytime temperatures. As of July 19, 2013, the Mountain Fire, which began on July 15 in the San Jacinto Wilderness in Southern California, had grown to more than 24,800 acres (nearly 39 square miles, or 100 square kilometers), forcing the evacuation of the nearby towns of Idyllwild and Fern Valley. More than 3,000 firefighting personnel are on the scene, but due to the ruggedness of the terrain, the fire is currently only 15 percent contained (http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3516/).
The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft passed over the wildfire around 11:40 a.m. PDT on July 17, 2013. The image is oriented so that north is toward the top. Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean can been seen to the left and the Salton Sea is the dark feature in the right center of the image. Analyses of the MISR data indicate that the smoke from the fire reaches altitudes from 2.5 to 3 miles (4 to 5 kilometers) above sea level with very light winds at this time.
The image extends from about 34.8 degrees north to 32.7 degrees north and 118.5 degrees west to 115.8 degrees west, covering about 143 miles (230 kilometers) in the north-south direction and 155 miles (250 kilometers) in the east-west direction. The images are a portion of the data acquired during Terra orbit 72236 from blocks 63 to 64 within World Reference System-2 path 40.
MISR was built and is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Terra satellite is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The MISR data were obtained from the NASA Langley Research Center Atmospheric Science Data Center. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.