Earth  ID: 31103

2013 Rim Fire

The winter of 2012–2013 was among the driest on record for California, setting the stage for an active fire season in the summer of 2013. At the time, the Rim Fire was the third largest in California since record-keeping began in 1932.

The VIIRS DNB on the Suomi NPP satellite tracked the growth of the fire between August 20 and September 4, 2013. The brightest, most intense parts of the fire glow white. Pale gray smoke streams away, generally to the north. Thin clouds obscured the view on September 1. On August 20, the Moon was full, so the landscape reflected a large amount of moonlight. The background grew progressively darker as the new Moon approached on September 5.

The perimeter of the fire changed along different fronts from day to day, depending on winds and firefighting efforts. On August 24, firefighters focused on containing the western edge of the fire to prevent it from burning into Tuolumne City and the populated Highway 108 corridor. They also fought the eastern edge of the fire to protect Yosemite National Park (outlined in yellow). These efforts are evident in the images: Between August 23 and 24, the eastern edge held steady, the western edge receded, and the fire grew in the southeast.

On the morning of August 25, 2013, fire managers reported that the blaze was growing in the north and east. With the fire burning aggressively and moving east into Yosemite, August 26 and 27 proved challenging days for firefighters. But over the next few days, they began to gain control after a series of burnout operations along the fire’s northern and eastern edges. On August 29, the evacuation advisory for Tuolumne City was lifted. The southeastern flank continued to burn intensely into the first week of September.

Earth Observatory: Progression of the Rim Fire at Night


Jesse Allen (SSAI): Lead Data Visualizer
Robert Simmon (Sigma Space Corporation): Lead Data Visualizer
Holli Riebeek Kohl (SSAI): Lead Writer
Adam P. Voiland (SSAI): Lead Writer
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

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GCMD >> Location >> California
SVS >> Hyperwall
SVS >> California Fires
NASA Science >> Earth
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Human Dimensions >> Natural Hazards >> Wildfires

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version