This observation shows the burn area and smoke plume created by 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). Data gathered by the mission can be further refined to measure the temperature of the wildfire, smoke plume and surrounding landscape.
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. As of Aug. 3, it was more than 26,000 acres. 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.
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/.