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NASA’s Aqua Spacecraft Monitors Arizona Wildfires

June 7th, 2011

NASA's Aqua Earth observing satellite spots smoke rising from Arizona wild fires on June 3. Photo Credit/NASA photo

Hundreds of firefighters are battling or managing a pair of Eastern Arizona wildfires visible in smoke filled imagery gathered by the Aqua spacecraft, one in a series of NASA managed Earth Observing System satellites equipped with instruments furnished by international partners to monitor the environment.

The recent Arizona imagery from Aqua’s Moderate Resolution Imagery Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, is focused on the HorseShoe2 and Wallow North fires in the eastern part of the Grand Canyon State. More than 3,000 men and women are fighting two blazes each affecting more than 100,000 acres.

NASA's Aqua spacecraft. Image Credit/NASA

The fires have forced closure of the Apache National Forest and Chircahua National Monument.

Aqua, which was launched in 2002, carries seven scientific instruments focused primarily on the Earth’s water cycle. The instruments measure evaporation rates from the world’s oceans, sea ice, atmospheric water vapor, clouds, rainfall, airborne pollutants as well as air, land and sea temperatures.

For more on NASA’s Earth Observing Project, including information for scientists, educators and young children click here.

Also, NASA maintains a web page of smoke and fire imagery.

In Arizona, state officials provide regular wildfire updates as well.