Astronaut view of Colorado fires

EarthzineEarth Observation, Wildfires Theme

Both of these photographs were taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on June 19, 2013.

See larger image Photo credit: NASA

The two images show a plume wafting from the West Fork Complex fire, which was burning explosively in southwestern Colorado near Pagosa Springs. In the above image you can see a smaller plume from the Wild Rose fire to the northwest.

See larger images Photo credit: NASA

While the Wild Rose blaze was fully contained by yesterday (June 25), the West Fork Complex was still raging through the San Juan and Rio Grande National Forests. The West Fork Complex is a combination of three fires: the West Fork fire, the Windy Pass fire, and the Papoose fire. Lightning ignited the first of the blazes on June 5, 2013, and together they had charred approximately 75,000 acres (30,000 hectares) by June 25. The fires were burning in rugged terrain with large amounts of beetle-killed spruce forests.