On Aug. 26, 2020, Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite passed over the River and Carmel fires in Monterey County, California, got a bird's eye view of the vast fire burn area.
This false-color map shows the burn area as dark blue and gray, in the center of the image. Vegetation is in red, including agricultural crops along the Salinas River (bright red rectangles) surrounding the towns of Soledad and Gonzales; bare areas with no vegetation and rock are shown in tan and brown. The city of Salinas is in the upper left of the image, obscured by thick clouds.
ASTER obtains high-resolution (15-90 square meters, or 161-969 square feet, per pixel) images of the Earth in 14 wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, ranging from visible to thermal infrared light. Data from ASTER — which is managed by Japan Space Systems and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California — are used by scientists to create detailed maps of land surface temperature, how much infrared energy the land emits, how much light the land reflects and its elevation.
On this occasion, ASTER was able to support NASA's Disaster Program response to the state's wildfires, providing data products that can be used by resources on the ground to fight the fires and for scientists to better understand their long-term effects. The area covered here is 21.4 by 31 miles (34.4 by 49.9 kilometers).
More information about ASTER is available at https://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/.