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Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch

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Thomas Fire

Posted On: December 11, 2017 - By: Barbra Lashbrook


Last week, more California wildfires had been initiated northwest of the Los Angeles Metropolitan area. Out of the fires that have spurred up in the last week, the Thomas Fire is the largest one. Over 230,000+ acres have been burned by the Thomas Fire, with approximately 15% of fire being contained so far. The cause of the fire is still under investigation and over 700+ structures have been burned as of 11 December 2017. Additionally, several thousands of people have been evacuated from the area. The latest updates on the Thomas Fire can be seen via the ‘Inciweb’ weblink.

Here is the latest Day/Night Band (DNB) satellite imagery, highlighting the evolution of the fire during the nighttime hours throughout the past week. Satellite imagery before the fire (4 December 2017), the day after the fire started (5 December 2017) and a week after the fire started (11 December 2017) are shown in the following images below. In the satellite imagery, emitted lights of the Thomas Fire and corresponding smoke can be seen, along with the nearby, emitted city lights of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The Thomas Fire, initially developed near Santa Paula, California, and has migrated to the north, northwest of Los Angeles, throughout the past week.

4 December 2017 – Before the Thomas Fire initiated.

5 December 2017 –  The Day after.

11 December 2017 –  Approximately a week after fire initiated.

An animation of the fire from 4-11 December 2017 can also be seen, showing the evolution of the fire via the following link.


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