Post-Fire: Assessing Downstream Effects on Hydrology and Water Quality (Thomas Fire)

  • Released Monday, December 12, 2022
  • ID: 5052

Wildfires leave behind a burn scar with little to no vegetation. Depending on the original biome type and severity of the fire, it may take years for the vegetation to regain its pre-fire biomass. Fire radiative power is an early observational indicator of interest to emergency response providers to prioritize areas with increased risk of mud-slides.

This visualization starts with a wide view of the West Coast of the United States. Regions that experienced fire are shown with red outlines. The camera then zooms in to the Thomas Fire in Southern California. This fire burned about 280,000 acres near Santa Barbara between December 2017 and January 2018. The visualization shows the extent of the fire with a red outline. Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) soil burn severity data is shown followed by the impact on evapotranspiration, then fire radiative power. The camera then zooms into a region near the coast and shows debris data (depicted as black areas with diagonal white lines).


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NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

Datasets used in this visualization

(Collected with the GTOPO30 sensor)
Observed Data

Burned Area Emergency Response

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Observed Data

Evapotranspiration data were retrieved for the DisALEXI model from OpenET ( under a CCBY4.0 open data license.

Credit: Melton, F., Huntington, J., Grimm, R., Herring, J., Hall, M., Rollison, D., Erickson, T., Allen, R., Anderson, M., Fisher, J., Kilic, A., Senay, G., volk, J., Hain, C., Johnson, L., Ruhoff, A., Blanenau, P., Bromley, M., Carrara, W., Daudert, B., Doherty, C., Dunkerly, C., Friedrichs, M., Guzman, A., Halverson, G., Hansen, J., Harding, J., Kang, Y., Ketchum, D., Minor, B., Morton, C., Ortega-Salazar, S., Ott, T., Ozdogon, M., Schull, M., Wang, T., Yang, Y., Anderson, R., 2021. OpenET: Filling a Critical Data Gap in Water Management for the Western United States. Journal of the American Water

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Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 Fire radiative power (Collected with the VIIRS sensor)
Observed Data
Debris Flow Polygons
Observed Data
SRTM DEM (Collected with the SIR-C sensor)
Landsat MTBS
Observed Data

Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity


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