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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.

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