Monday, August 17, 2009

Satellite imagery shows devastation caused by California forest fires

Satellite imagery from the recently launched UK-DMC2 satellite shows forest fires in the Los Padres National Forest east of Santa Maria at 11:10 local time on the 12th August.

California is currently experiencing widespread forest fires, which has lead to evacuations in two areas. Earlier today, Bloomberg reported that more than 1,900 fire fighters were battling the blaze that has burned at least 48,457 acres in the Los Padres National Forest area of Santa Barbara County.

The image was acquired by DMCii in Guildford, UK from the new UK-DMC2 earth observation satellite just 16 days after its launch into the Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC) on 29th July.

To the East of Santa Maria, an enormous cloud of smoke from the fire can be clearly seen extending to the West above the patchwork agricultural of farms that begins in the outskirts of Santa Maria. The artificial red indicates green vegetation and the dark patch indicates burned areas, revealing the damage that has been caused to the trees of the Los Padres National Forest from which the smoke plume is blowing. The characteristic shape of Lake Cachuma can be seen to the south of the image.

The UK-DMC2 satellite was launched into the DMC constellation of earth observation satellites with the Spanish owned satellite Deimos-1 satellite. Both satellites were built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), and are already acquiring impressive satellite images of natural disasters, agricultural land and familiar landmarks around the world during the first week of their commissioning.

To find out more about UK-DMC2, its future role in disaster relief and Earth observation visit


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