Public Release: 

NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite sees pollution from fires in Southwestern Australia

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

On February 5, 2015, several bushfires were raging near the city of Northcliff, located in southern Western Australia, triggering smoke alerts and generating aerosols that were detected by NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite.

On February 4, 2015, the OMPS or the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite that flies aboard NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite captured data on the thickness of aerosols (tiny particles) from smoke. The NASA OMPS team noted that the aerosol index (the measure of how thick the aerosols are) just off the southwestern coast reached 5.8 (moderate) while the plume further south had an AI value that reached 9.3 (high). The smoke from these fires is intense and fairly high up in the atmosphere.

The Western Australia Department of Fire and Emergency Services indicated five areas of fires, for which they have posted Emergency Warnings or Bushfire Advice.

A Bushfire Emergency Warning is in effect for southern part of Lower Hotham in the Shires of Boddington, Collie and Williams. Bushfire Advice was posted for Bakers Junction in the City of Albany for residents in the vicinity of Lake Unicup Nature Reserve and Mordalup Road in the Shire of Cranbrook. Another Bushfire Advice bulletin was posted for the Noobijup Nature Reserve in the Shire of Cranbrook and another for the vicinity of Lake Unicup Nature Reserve and Mordalup Road in the Shire of Cranbrook There are also several smoke alerts for the southern regions of Western Australia. According to the Western Australia Department of Fire and Emergency Services website.

The Department of Parks and Wildlife has issued a smoke alert for the State's South West and Great Southern regions. This includes Bremer Bay, Walpole, Busselton, Bunbury, Denmark, Pemberton, Manjimup, Bridgetown, Nannup, Augusta, Margaret River, Lower Hotham, Albany, Boddington, Collie and all surrounding areas. The smoke is from the Northcliffe and Lower Hotham bushfires.

The Department of Parks and Wildlife has issued a smoke alert for Davis and Gervasse forest blocks within Wellington National Park in the Shire of Dardanup. The smoke is from prescribed burns in these blocks that commenced in October 2014 and recently reignited, causing significant smoke. The smoke may persist for a number of weeks.

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More information on fire alerts can be found at the Western Australia Department of Fire and Emergency Services website: http://www.dfes.wa.gov.au

Image: NASA/NOAA/OMPS Team, NASA Goddard

Rob Gutro
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

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