Air quality today was mainly good and moderate in some states in the afternoon. Moderate Ozone levels were reached in the Great Lakes and Mississippi Valley regions during the afternoon (top left). PM2.5 levels were also moderate in California and Southeast region (top right).
HMS reported large wildfires in the west, specifically the High Park fire in northern Colorado and the Little Bear and Whitewater-Baldy fires in southern New Mexico. These fires continue to burn and have led to a large amount of remnant smoke moving eastward from the Colorado and New Mexico into Nebraska to Texas. The full extent of this smoke is difficult to discern due to the presence of clouds in that region (middle left). Aerosol optical depth (AOD) retrieved by MODIS was high in Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma mainly due to the High park fire (middle right).
High Park fire in Colorado feature (courtesy: Earth Observatory).
The High Park Fire, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) west of Fort Collins, Colorado, was discovered just before 6:00 a.m. on June 9, 2012. Started by a lightning strike, the fire quickly grew, fueled by high winds and dry vegetation. By the morning of June 12, the fire had burned more than 43,000 acres (17,000 hectares), making it the third-largest fire in Colorado history. Smoke from the fire affected air quality up and down the populous Colorado Front Range, the eastern face of the southern Rocky Mountains. Officials warned residents to take precautions if they could see or smell smoke, and a Fort Collins hospital reported an increase in emergency room visits related to smoke inhalation. Much of the fuel for the High Park Fire is coming from stands of trees that have been killed by beetles; the insects have devastated forests in western North America. Images from MODIS on Aqua satellite are shown below.