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Jun 22, 2012 2:23 PM

NASA satellite captures pics of several Western wildfires

TUCSON - A NASA satellite captured images of several wildfires burning in the western United States, including the Poco Fire burning in Central Arizona and the Fox Fire burning east of Tucson.

NASA's Aqua satellite captured smoke and heat signatures from several large fires - the image above was taken on June 19.

The largest fire seen here, Colorado's High Park Fire, has burned 68,200 acres and destroyed 189 homes as of June 22, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The High Park Fire is located in the Roosevelt National Forest, about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, Colo. and was started by a lightning strike.

Smoke and heat signatures from the Poco Fire are clearly visible in the image. The Poco Fire is now 25 percent contained after burning 11,950 acres. Today, the weather is a concern to fire managers as winds are expected to gust up to 30 mph in the afternoon. Firefighters will continue to patrol for spot fires, reinforce fire lines, and mop up.

Heat from the Fox Fire was also picked up by the satellite's Atmospheric Infared Sounder, and while not labeled in the picture, a small red dot can be seen, indicting a spot of heat in the atmosphere or on the ground. As of the latest update, the lightning-caused Fox Fire has burned about 7,500 acres and is now 75 percent contained. The Fox Fire is burning in a rugged part of the Rincon Wilderness east of Tucson.

Read the full NASA news release and view a high-resolution version of the satellite image here:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/fires/main/western-us.html

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