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Landsat Images Help Emergency Managers Fight Largest Fire in Arizona History



Landsat Images Help Emergency Managers Fight Largest Fire in Arizona History

As the largest fire in the history of the state of Arizona continues to burn, emergency managers and responders are using satellite data from a variety of instruments to plan both immediate firefighting containment strategies and mitigation efforts once the fires are out.

The Landsat 5 satellite captured images of two Arizona fires, dubbed Wallow and Horseshoe Two, burning in eastern Arizona on June 15 at 3:54 p.m. EDT. Both images are false-colored to allow ease of identification of various objects that will help firefighters and emergency managers. In the images burn scars appear in red and ongoing fire in bright red. Vegetation is colored green, smoke is colored blue and bare ground is tan-colored. The Landsat 5 image is a false color image with a 7, 4, 2 band combination. 

The Wallow fire, now the largest in Arizona history, began May 29 in the Bear Wallow Wilderness area located in eastern Arizona. Fueled by high winds and low humidity, this fire has burned over 487,016 acres (761 sq. mi.) to date.

The Horseshoe Two fire, a large event by any other standard, began May 8 in Horseshoe Canyon in the Coronado National Forest located in southeast Arizona. As of June 16, this fire had burned 184,198 acres (287 sq. mi.).  

To assist emergency managers, Landsat satellites combine a wide-area perspective with a thermal sensor that detects the actual fire perimeter through the smoke and haze. Landsat imagery provides critical vegetation and fuels information for the interagency Wildland Fire Decision Support System which is used to model fire behavior and make tactical decisions.

Landsat is a joint effort of both USGS and NASA. USGS conducts Landsat operations and NASA develops and launches new satellites that meet USGS requirements. In addition to imagery of natural hazard events, Landsat provides valuable data for land use research and advances the Department of the Interior’s important role in land remote sensing under the President’s National Space Policy. Landsat images are unique in that they provide complete global coverage, they are available for free, and they span nearly 40 years of continuous earth observation. No other satellite imagery has that combination of attributes.

USGS Newsroom



More information

Parameter Value Description
Magnitude mb The magnitude for the event.
Longitude ° East Decimal degrees longitude. Negative values for western longitudes.
Latitude ° North Decimal degrees latitude. Negative values for southern latitudes.
Depth km Depth of the event in kilometers.
Place Textual description of named geographic region near to the event. This may be a city name, or a Flinn-Engdahl Region name.
Time 1970-01-01 00:00:00 Time when the event occurred. UTC/GMT
Updated 1970-01-01 00:00:00 Time when the event was most recently updated. UTC/GMT
Timezone offset Timezone offset from UTC in minutes at the event epicenter.
Felt The total number of felt reports
CDI The maximum reported intensity for the event.
MMI The maximum estimated instrumental intensity for the event.
Alert Level The alert level from the PAGER earthquake impact scale. Green, Yellow, Orange or Red.
Review Status Indicates whether the event has been reviewed by a human.
Tsunami This flag is set to "1" for large events in oceanic regions and "0" otherwise. The existence or value of this flag does not indicate if a tsunami actually did or will exist.
SIG A number describing how significant the event is. Larger numbers indicate a more significant event.
Network The ID of a data contributor. Identifies the network considered to be the preferred source of information for this event.
Sources A comma-separated list of network contributors.
Number of Stations Used The total number of Number of seismic stations which reported P- and S-arrival times for this earthquake.
Horizontal Distance Horizontal distance from the epicenter to the nearest station (in degrees).
Root Mean Square sec The root-mean-square (RMS) travel time residual, in sec, using all weights.
Azimuthal Gap The largest azimuthal gap between azimuthally adjacent stations (in degrees).
Magnitude Type The method or algorithm used to calculate the preferred magnitude for the event.
Event Type Type of seismic event.
Event ID Id of event.
Event Code An identifying code assigned by, and unique from, the corresponding source for the event.
Event IDS A comma-separated list of event ids that are associated to an event.

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