NASA has released an image of the burn scar from the Waldo Canyon Fire, which began on June 23, 2012 and became the most destructive fire in the history of the state of Colorado, destroying 346 homes in the city of Colorado Springs. InciWeb is reporting today (July 6, 2012) that the fire is 90% contained, but 776 firefighters are still in the area, on mop up and patrol or waiting for reassignment to other parts of the country. They remain on three-minute readiness to respond in the event of flareups. Those fire personnel are reporting that they can see smoke in Colorado Springs from the wildfires now burning in Wyoming.
NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this false-color image of the Waldo Canyon burn scar on July 4, 2012. That day, light light rain fell on the fire and helped quell fire activity. Beginning today, heavier rains, cooler temperatures and higher humidity are predicted.
In this satellite image, vegetation-covered land is red. Patches of unburned forest are bright red, in contrast with areas where flecks of light brown indicate some burning. The darkest brown areas are the most severely burned. Buildings, roads, and other developed areas appear light gray and white. The bright red patches of vegetation near Colorado Springs are golf courses, parks, or other irrigated land.
According to an analysis conducted by the Denver Post, the combined value of the homes that burned to the ground in the neighborhood was at least $110 million.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.