The Suomi NPP satellite's VIIRS instrument captured this image of burn scars from the massive Thomas Fire that has been raging in southern California for the past two weeks. Since it began on December 4, 2017, the wildfire has charred more than 270,000 acres and has become the third-largest wildfire in California history. With little rain forecast over the coming week, the Thomas Fire may soon become the state's largest on record, according to media reports.
This image was created by combining three of the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite's high resolution thermal and visible channels from the VIIRS sensor (SVI 4,2,1). These different channels allow us to distinguish different land types based on their visual and thermal differences. Areas of land that are hotter in temperature due to an active fire or a burn scar appear red in the imagery.