NASA, Google Maps track Southern California wildfires

NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer satellite delivers photos of the Southern California wildfires. Google Maps provides another way to chart the course of the fires.


NASA has posted a series of photos of the Southern California wildfires that were taken with one of its research satellites.

The images show smoke from the fires being blown west over the Pacific Ocean from a portion of the state stretching from Santa Barbara to Riverside County. They were taken with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, which specializes in measurements including cloud cover, ocean color, and water vapor, and has delivered pictures of notable events including Hurricane Katrina and Bangladesh flooding in the past.

Another way to look at the affected area is through Google Earth. Available maps include a detailed outline of the area, homes affected, official warnings, and evacuation orders.

But the best way I've seen to appreciate the full scope of this natural disaster is a photo gallery on It features a stunning gallery, including detailed aerial photographs taken by the Associated Press--and no tax dollars were spent to make them.

Tech Culture
About the author

Declan McCullagh is the chief political correspondent for CNET. You can e-mail him or follow him on Twitter as declanm. Declan previously was a reporter for Time and the Washington bureau chief for Wired and wrote the Taking Liberties section and Other People's Money column for CBS News' Web site.


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