June 27, 2012
Wildfires Across Colorado Seen By NASA Satellites
Nearly half of the United States' airborne fire suppression equipment was operating over Colorado on June 25, 2012, CNN reported, as tens of thousands of acres burned. Fires raged in southwestern Colorado, northeastern Colorado, and multiple locations in between.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image on June 23, 2012. Red outlines approximate the locations of actively burning fires. The High Park and Weber Fires produced the largest plumes of smoke.
The High Park Fire continued to burn west of Fort Collins. Started by lightning on June 9, 2012, this blaze had consumed 83,205 acres (33,672 hectares), making it the second-largest fire in Colorado history, after the Hayman Fire that burned in 2002. As of June 25, more than 2,000 people were fighting the High Park Fire, and firefighters had it 45 percent contained, according to InciWeb. Nevertheless, The Denver Post reported that the fire had destroyed 248 homes, making it the most destructive in Colorado history, even if it was not the largest.
In the opposite corner of the state, the Weber Fire started around 4:15 p.m. on June 22. As of June 25, the fire had burned approximately 8,300 acres (3,400 hectares) and was being fought by 164 personnel. The cause was under investigation. The fire had high growth potential because of possible wind gusts from thunderstorms, InciWeb reported. On the other side of Durango, the Little Sand Fire had been burning for weeks after being started by a lightning strike on May 13. As of June 25, that fire had burned 21,616 acres (8,748 hectares), was being fought by nearly 200 people, and was 31 percent contained.
West of Colorado Springs, the Waldo Canyon Fire forced 11,000 people from their homes, many of them compelled to evacuate in the middle of the night on June 23.