Spread of the Caldor Fire - 2021

  • Released Wednesday, June 1st, 2022
  • Updated Wednesday, November 15th, 2023 at 12:18AM
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This visualization shows the spread of the Caldor fire between August 15 and October 6, 2021, updated every 12 hours based on new satellite active fire detections. The yellow outlines track the position of the active fire lines for the last 60 hours, with the latest location of the fire front in the brightest shade of yellow. The red points show the location of active fire detections, while the grey region shows the estimated total area burned. The graph shows the cumulative burned area in square kilometers.

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This visualization highlights data from a new fire detection and tracking approach (Chen et al., 2022) based on near-real time active fire detections from the VIIRS sensor on the Suomi-NPP satellite. Every 12 hours, the fire tracking algorithm uses new active fire detections to update the total fire perimeter and estimate the position of active fire lines where the fire may continue to spread. Yellow lines indicate the new fire fronts from active fire data (red points) every 12 hours. This approach provides a detailed perspective on the behavior of the Caldor fire, just the second fire in California history to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The fire tracking data identify periods of rapid fire expansion and active fire detections within the perimeter from continued flaming and smoldering behind the active fire fronts. In total, the Caldor fire burned for more than 80 days through the El Dorado National Forest, threatening the communities of Meyers and South Lake Tahoe. The fire continued to burn for more than a month after the perimeter was contained in mid-September.

For more details, see the paper here.

This image shows the extent of the Caldor fire on August 21, 2021.  The yellow outlines track the position of the active fire lines for the last 60 hours, with the latest location of the fire front in the brightest shade of yellow. The red points show the location of active fire detections, while the grey region shows the estimated total area burned. The graph shows the cumulative burned area in square kilometers.

This image shows the extent of the Caldor fire on August 21, 2021. The yellow outlines track the position of the active fire lines for the last 60 hours, with the latest location of the fire front in the brightest shade of yellow. The red points show the location of active fire detections, while the grey region shows the estimated total area burned. The graph shows the cumulative burned area in square kilometers.

This image shows the extent of the Caldor fire on August 28, 2021.  The yellow outlines track the position of the active fire lines for the last 60 hours, with the latest location of the fire front in the brightest shade of yellow. The red points show the location of active fire detections, while the grey region shows the estimated total area burned. The graph shows the cumulative burned area in square kilometers.

This image shows the extent of the Caldor fire on August 28, 2021. The yellow outlines track the position of the active fire lines for the last 60 hours, with the latest location of the fire front in the brightest shade of yellow. The red points show the location of active fire detections, while the grey region shows the estimated total area burned. The graph shows the cumulative burned area in square kilometers.

This image shows the spread of the Caldor fire between August 15 and October 6, 2021, with the fire line for each 12-hour time step shown in a different color.

This image shows the spread of the Caldor fire between August 15 and October 6, 2021, with the fire line for each 12-hour time step shown in a different color.



Credits

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio


Papers used in this visualization

Chen, Y., Hantson, S., Andela, N. et al. California wildfire spread derived using VIIRS satellite observations and an object-based tracking system. Sci Data 9, 249 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-022-01343-0


Datasets used in this visualization

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