March 31, 2014
(6 Sept. 2011) --- Wildfire smoke plumes in Texas are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 28 crew member on the International Space Station. This panoramic view of east-central Texas highlights numerous smoke plumes caused by wildfires burning across the state. The image was taken using a short focal length lens (12-mm), which captures a wide field of view at the cost of fine feature resolution. Smoke plumes are clearly visible in the image to the east of Austin; to the north of Houston; to the northwest of Lake Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend Reservoir; and to the west of Shreveport, LA. More diffuse smoke moving offshore into the Gulf of Mexico is visible at bottom. Part of an ISS photovoltaic radiator panel is visible at top center. Record-setting drought conditions have affected much of Texas since early 2011 and have dried out both forest and grassland, providing ample fuel for wildfires. Relatively high winds and low humidity levels have also contributed to the rapid spread and expansion of fires. According to a Texas Forest Service (TXFS) Incident Management Situation Report dated Sept. 7, 2011, TXFS had responded to 172 fires affecting an area of 546.53 square kilometers (135,051 acres) over the preceding seven days. Fires near Bastrop, TX to the east of Austin had destroyed 785 homes as of Sept. 7, 2011.
Topics: Disaster Accident, Environment, Ecological succession, Fire, Occupational safety and health, Texas, Texas wildfires, Systems ecology, management, Wildfire, risk management, Smoke