The Las Conchas wildfire, a 92,735-acre blaze extending around the community and national laboratory of Los Alamos, N.M., often moves faster than the officials who monitor it. That can be frustrating for people who want to see where the fire is burning.
But NASA has an automated answer for the impatient: the MODIS satellite. It records fire data, and the U.S. Forest Service packages it up so Google Earth users can get a rough but useful view of the fire's behavior.
Here's how to take a look. But first, I'll share a sobering NASA photo taken from the International Space Station on Monday, the second day of the fire.
It's a daunting image for anyone like me who knows the area and the scale involved. There are 752 people fighting the fire right now, including four bulldozers, 28 fire engines, and five helicopters. Since the Cerro Grande fire of 2000, which burned hundreds of Los Alamos homes and thousands of acres of Los Alamos National Laboratory property, the lab has taken new fire counter measures including more forest clearing and automatic fire-suppression systems. So far today, physical risks to the lab are lower than earlier in the week, LANL Director Charlie McMillan said. … Read more