Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Los Angeles fires seen from space



Hundreds of fires were set in Los Angeles following the verdict of Rodney G. King versus the Los Angeles Police Department on April 29, 1992. These fires were of sufficient intensity and extent to be imaged at 1-km resolution by the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) aboard the polar-orbiting satellites operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (see VanWoert et al. [1992] for an overview of the characteristics of the AVHRR instrument). Here we present a thermal infrared image taken the first night of the riots, compare it with an image taken several years earlier but typical of this area, and discuss the relationships with the land cover observed in a 20-m resolution image from the French satellite SPOT (Systeme Probatoire pour l'Observation de la Terre).