The Caldor Fire raging near Lake Tahoe, on the border of the US states of California and Nevada, was captured in a stunning time-lapse video by an orbiting satellite, showing the scale of the massive fire in Forest.
The GOES 17 satellite operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recorded the images making up the new time-lapse video Monday evening (August 30). The satellite’s high-resolution fast scanning camera was specially developed to detect wildfires and monitor smoke coverage in near real time, which NOAA officials then sped up in the new video.
The video, released by NOAA Tuesday morning, shows the fire burning south of Lake Tahoe with a thick cloud of smoke spreading eastward.
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According to California Department of Forestry and Fire ProtectionCaldor Fire has devoured 191,607 acres of forest and land as of August 31 since it erupted on August 14. Only 16% of the fire was contained as it continues to spread.
About 22,000 residents of towns in the South Lake Tahoe area had to leave their homes after the fire spread to the edge of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, fanned by strong winds and aided by low humidity . 31,000 more people from California counties of El Dorado, Amador and Alpine also had to be evacuated, according to Gizmodo.
According to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, there are currently 11 active wildfires in California, of which Caldor Fire is currently the second largest, followed by Monument Fire in northern California. The Dixie fire, the largest fire in California history continues to ravage Lassen Volcanic National Park and is still only 48% contained. The fire, which started in mid-July, burned 807,396 acres of forest and land and destroyed historic Gold Rush-era Greenville.
This year’s devastating fire season is, according to scientists, a direct result of the progression of climate change. California has become hotter and drier over the past 30 years, providing increasingly favorable conditions for the spread of wildfires in the summer, according to the statistics of the European Copernicus Earth Observation Program.
Launched in March 2018, GOES 17 (for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) sits at an altitude of 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) above Earth in a location with a constant view of the North American continent and the Pacific Ocean.
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