Forest fires continue to plague the hot, dry western part of the United States this summer. In Idaho, several fires were spotted by NASA's Aqua satellite on July 20, 2013. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS’s thermal bands, are outlined in red.
The three largest smoke producers seen in this image are, from south the north, the Ridge Fire, the Lodgepole Fire and the Papoose Fire. Another large smoke producer, the West Mullen fire, burns in Montana.
The Ridge Fire ignited on July 16 as a result of lighting strike. It is burning in steep, inaccessible terrain 15 miles north of Lowman, Idaho. As of July 28, the fire has scorched 5,346 acres and is only 35% contained, but overcast skies and slightly cooler weather on July 27 have aided the firefighting crews’ efforts to contain the blaze.
Lighting also started the Lodgepole Fire, which was detected at noon on Saturday, July 20. Local fire resources were dispatched to the scene where aggressive fire suppression efforts were put into place. The fire is currently burning in lodge pole pine and dispersed Douglas fir. As of July 28, 7,598 acres had burned and the fire is reported as 10% contained.
The Papoose Fire which started July 8 as a result of a lightning strike is the largest of the fires at 9,278 acres. It is burning in grass, brush and small stands of timber in rugged, inaccessible terrain above the Middle Fork Salmon River. Four trail closures are in effect for the Salmon-Challis National Forest, North Fork district, in the fire area. On July 28 the Inciweb incident management website reported that the growth potential of this fire remained high.