July 1, 2014 - Stony Fire, California

Stony Fire, California

On the afternoon of June 19, 2014 a wildfire ignited on the Stony Valley Range, located on Fort Hunter Liggett. Local media reported large a large smoke column visible over the Salinas Valley by 4:30 p.m. local time that evening.

According to a June 20 press release by the military Public Affairs Office, the fire had spread to approximately 5,000 acres and was 100% contained. Moderate smoke was reported from the area, with cleanup work expected through the next few days.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aboard the Aqua satellite passed over the fire at 21:40 UTC (2:45 p.m. local time) and captured a true-color image of the scene. In the image, a large red hotspot can be seen, with gray smoke rising from the area and spreading across the valley and westward over the Pacific Ocean. Such hotspots mark where thermal sensors on the MODIS instrument detect high temperatures. When accompanied by typical smoke, they indicate actively burning fires.

Although the fire was reported as contained at the time the image was captured, it is important to understand that “contained” does not mean “extinguished”. According to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG), the term “contained” signifies "that a control line has been completed around the fire, and any associated spot fires, which can reasonably be expected to stop the fire’s spread”. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) issued its last advisory on the Stony Valley Fire on June 21.

On June 30, the public information officer at the military base reported a new fire in the same location. At 3:00 p.m. local time, the Monterey County Fire Academy was conducting training in an area west of Stony Valley, and as a result of a shift in the wind, the fire lost containment and moved into the previously burnt area. The new fire had burnt 1,000 acres as of 4:30 p.m. local time, and was expected to be contained quickly.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 6/20/2014
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC