By Sarah Parsons and Kristine Lister
The video below shows the wildfire’s progression, as detected by NASA’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) and displayed on Resource Watch.
NASA sensors first detected a large fire in the Mendocino area on June 27th. By the next day, it had spread rapidly in the area surrounding Clear Lake. The Mendocino Complex Fire—which is actually made up of two fires, the Ranch and River wildfires—has since burned an area of land 10 times the size of San Francisco.
What Does the Fire Look Like Now?
Data on Resource Watch shows the smoke and air pollution created by the Mendocino Complex Fire. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is an easily inhalable pollutant linked to heart and lung problems, asthma and more. The World Health Organization recommends a maximum daily exposure limit of 25 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3). (A microgram is one-millionth of a gram.) Right now, areas surrounding the Mendocino fires are seeing PM2.5 levels exceeding 55 μg/m3.
And the Mendocino fire isn’t the only one in California creating potentially dangerous levels of PM2.5. North of Mendocino, areas surrounding the Redding fire are seeing upwards of 90 μg/m3 of PM2.5. Mariposa, California, a town near Yosemite National Park, experienced PM2.5 levels of 97 μg/m3.
Check Fires and Air Quality Near Your Neighborhood