Hayden Pass Fire In Colorado Continues To Grow

NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC.

NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC.

July 13, 2016 – The Hayden Pass Fire which began as a lightning strike on July 08, 2016, five miles southwest of Coaldale, Colorado, continues to grow. New estimates put the fire at more than 12,000 acres. The fire began in the San Isabel National Forest but has now progressed onto the Rio Grande National Forest and other locations including Bureau of Land Management and private lands. It is currently at 0% containment.

Fire crews searched for smoke over the weekend but were unable to track down its location in the rugged terrain of the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. Smoke from this fire then reappeared on Sunday, July 10th, just after 2:00 p.m. and by 10:00 p.m. the fire had grown to over 5,000 acres. Strong winds, dry conditions and the large volume of dead woody debris in the area contributed to this rapid growth. The fire is expected to continue moving north and northeast into the community of Coaldale. Massive evacuations have taken place and road closures are in effect. Possible closures of highways could also take place in the near future. To date no structures have been lost.

Each hot spot, which appears as a red mark, is an area where the thermal detectors on the MODIS instrument recognized temperatures higher than background. When accompanied by plumes of smoke, as in this image, such hot spots are diagnostic for fire.

NASA’s Aqua satellite collected this natural-color image with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, MODIS, instrument on July 11, 2016.

NASA uses the vantage point of space to better detect fires and predict their behavior. The data are one of the intelligence tools used by the USFS and Department of Interior agencies across the United States to guide resource allocation and strategic fire management decisions.