NASA Satellite Captures Image of Blazing California Rim Fire

First Posted: Aug 27, 2013 08:32 AM EDT

A devastating fire continues to rage across acres of land in northeastern California. While the fire began August 17, it continues to burn across Stainislaus National Forest, Yosemite National Park and the Bureau of Land Management and State responsibility land. Already, over 224 square miles have been affected and it doesn't look like it's going to stop any time soon. Now, a NASA satellite has captured the Rim Fire, revealing how widespread it truly is.

The latest natural-color satellite image was collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite. Captured on Aug. 25, the picture reveals actively burning areas detected by MODIS's thermal bands (outlined in red).

Currently, the fire is only 7 percent contained and investigations are ongoing when it comes to finding out exactly what caused the fire. Inaccessible terrain, strong winds and dry conditions have all contributed to the difficulty of fighting this particular blaze. In fact, the Rim Fire is expected to continue very large fire growth in the future.

"Although the Rim Fire is more than 100 miles from the Bay Area, it still could threaten San Francisco's electric supply if it damages the power system originating in O'Shaughnessy Dam at Hetch Hetchy reservoir," according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Officials are utilizing aerial resources in an attempt to contain the fire. Forecasted high winds and high potential for long range spotting, though, remain major concerns for the fire. In fact, the fire is so large and is burning with such a force that it's created its own weather pattern. This, in turn, makes the fire's spread difficult to predict.

Yet these types of large fires may soon be a part of our future. Scientists have discovered the climate change is expected to intensify dry, hot conditions. This, in turn, may exacerbate fires. In 2012, a study revealed that the over-the-top fire season that year may soon be the new normal

Currently, officials are still attempting to battle back the flames.

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