The Los Angeles area is currently suffering the effects of three major wildfires that are blanketing the area with smoke. Over the past few days, Southern California has experienced record-breaking temperatures, topping 110 degrees Fahrenheit in some cities. The heat, in combination with offshore winds, helped to stoke the Sherpa Fire west of Santa Barbara, which has been burning since June 15, 2016. Over the weekend of June 18-19, this fire rapidly expanded in size, forcing freeway closures and evacuations of campgrounds and state beaches. On Monday, June 20, two new fires ignited in the San Gabriel Mountains north of Azusa and Duarte, together dubbed the San Gabriel Complex Fire. They have burned more than 4,900 acres since June 20, sending up plumes of smoke visible to many in the Los Angeles basin and triggering air quality warnings. More than 1,400 personnel have been battling the blazes in the scorching heat, and evacuations were ordered for neighborhoods in the foothills.
On June 21, the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured this view of the San Gabriel Mountains and Los Angeles Basin from its 46-degree forward-viewing camera, which enhances the visibility of the smoke compared to the more conventional nadir (vertical) view. The width of this image is about 75 miles (120 kilometers) across. Smoke from the San Gabriel Complex Fire is visible at the very right of the image. Stereoscopic analysis of MISR's multiple camera angles is used to compute the height of the smoke plume from the San Gabriel Complex Fire. In the right-hand image, these heights are superimposed on the underlying image. The color scale shows that the plume is not much higher than the surrounding mountains. As a result, much of the smoke is confined to the local area.
These data were acquired during Terra orbit 87818. The stereoscopic analysis was performed using the MISR INteractive eXplorer (MINX) software tool, which is publicly available through the Open Channel Foundation at https://www.openchannelsoftware.com/projects/MINX. A database of previously digitized plumes is available from the MISR Plume Height Project at http://misr.jpl.nasa.gov/getData/accessData/MISRPlumeHeight/.
MISR was built and is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Terra spacecraft is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland. The MISR data were obtained from the NASA Langley Research Center Atmospheric Science Data Center, Hampton, Virginia. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.