Active fires in Canada



As the Alberta fires rage, we snatched a spare ten minutes from supporting the disaster response to publish some images.  These images show the devastation inflicted by these fires on homes, industrial facilities and a gigantic area of prime forest.  These images were acquired just a few days ago and were provided immediately to the agencies in charge of disaster response.  Each of these pictures is shown as natural colour, with a slider to reveal extra information from the near infrared. This extra information can penetrate clouds and smoke, vital during disasters like this. In the infrared trees and vegetation appear red. All of these images were taken by the DMC3/TripleSat constellation of satellites, as a collaboration between Earth-i and 21AT.

This image shows a facility near Anzac, capable of producing tens of thousands of barrels of oil each day and equipped with an upgrader to convert the extracted oil into other products.  The fires are extremely close to this facility.

A close up of this image shows the active fires very clearly.

A large number of these homes have been destroyed to the ground by the fires. Some lawns and grass are still visible through the smoke on the infrared image, but the fires extending right up to the boundary walls of the properties show that there was little that could be done to protect the homes from the fires.

The airport at Fort McMurray is taking few commercial flights. A number of cars are in the car park, but few passenger planes can be seen. The area around the airport has all been burned, with the lawns and grass areas in the centre still showing up as red and the fire is unable to progress through this area.

This zoomed out picture shows the extent of the devastation. In the infrared image healthy vegetation appears as red, contrasted heavily by a dark area, tens of kilometres across, where the trees have all been destroyed by fire.

These oil drill pads are easily spotted by the perfect square of trees that is removed around them. The images allow us to clearly pick out individual trees.

In these final images clearly show the scale of the destruction. The image on the left shows active fire as yellow, burnt areas as blue and unaffected areas as green.