ECOSTRESS Gauges the Apple Fire's Temperature From Space
This temperature map shows the stressed and dry vegetation surrounding the Apple fire in Southern California on Aug. 1, 2020. The observation was made possible by NASA's Ecosystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) that measured the temperature of the burn area and tracked the dark smoke plume drifting east from California to Arizona.
ECOSTRESS collected this data when the space station passed over the region at about 1:15 p.m. PST on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, when the burn area was approximately 4,000 acres in size. Black smoke can be seen drifting east and over Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert. With a resolution of about 77 by 77 yards (70 by 70 meters), the image enables surface-temperature conditions down to the size of a football field to be studied.
In the active burn area, temperatures of between 390-1290 F (200-700 C) were recorded, and in one pixel in the ECOSTRESS image of the burn zone, a peak temperature of 1387 F (753 C) was detected.
Tasked with detecting plant water use and stress, ECOSTRESS measures the temperature of plants as they heat up when they run out of water. But it can also measure and track heat-related phenomena like fires, heat waves, and volcanoes.
The ECOSTRESS mission launched to the space station on June 29, 2018. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages the mission for the Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. ECOSTRESS is an Earth Venture Instrument mission; the program is managed by NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder program at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
More information about ECOSTRESS is available here: https://ecostress.jpl.nasa.gov/.