Shop Windows to the Universe

With Explore the Planets, investigate the planets, their moons, and understand the processes that shape them. By G. Jeffrey Taylor, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.
This satellite image shows the entire state of Colorado. Faint black lines were added to show the state border. The image shows the smoke from several large fires raging in Colorado at this time. The largest fire (just north of center) has been called the Hayman Fire. This fire has already spread over 100,000 acres! Click on the image for a more detailed image including city names.
Click on image for full size
NASA (Liam Gumley at the

Wildfires are Burning in the Western United States
News story originally written on June 14, 2002

There are 19 large wildfires burning in the United States (as of June 13, 2002). Most of the fires are in the western part of the country. Some fires started when people were careless with fire. Some fires started in natural ways, such as from lightning .

The largest fire is in Colorado. A campfire started the wildfire and it has grown bigger and bigger since Sunday, June 9, 2002. The fire is mostly in forests. Colorado has not had much rain and snow this year so the forests are very dry and will burn easily.

Small wildfires can be good for a forest because they burn dead trees, making more room for living trees to grow bigger. But, large wildfires, like the ones in the West, burn both living and dead trees.

Every fire needs three things: fuel, oxygen and heat. The fuels for a wildfire are plants. The oxygen comes from the air. Very hot temperatures are needed for a fire too. To stop a wildfire, fire fighters try to take at least one of the three things from the fire.

Fire fighters are trying to stop the wildfires in many ways. Some firefighters are on the ground, trying to smother and contain the fire. Some firefighters fly through the air in planes, dropping thick soupy stuff onto fires from above. Also, NASA's Terra satellite look at fires from space and helps people know where fires are by taking pictures like the one here.


Last modified June 13, 2002 by Jennifer Bergman.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes books on science education, ranging from evolution, classroom research, and the need for science and math literacy!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Thunder and Lightning

Lightning is the coolest thing about a thunderstorm. In fact, it is how thunderstorms got their name. Wait a minute, what does thunder have to do with lightning? Well, lightning causes thunder. Lightning...more

Temperate Forests

Temperate forests are found all over the world, but they are not all the same. Some forests have trees that lose their leaves in the winter. These trees are called deciduous. Other forests have trees that...more

1999--A Year in Review...

It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more

STS-95 Launch: "Let the wings of Discovery lift us on to the future."

The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The sky was clear and the weather was great. This was the America's 123rd manned space mission. A huge...more

Moon Found Orbiting Asteroid

Scientists found a satellite orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is the second one ever! A special telescope allows scientists to look through Earth's atmosphere. The first satellite found was Dactyl....more

U.S. is Fed Up with Russia

The United States wants Russia to put the service module in orbit! The module is part of the International Space Station. It was supposed to be in space over 2 years ago. Russia just sent supplies to the...more

More on Recent Coronal Mass Ejection

A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. ACE measured some exciting things as the CME material passed...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF