NASA Armstrong’s ER-2 aircraft observes smoke plumes, from roughly 65,000 feet, produced by the Thomas fire in Ventura County, CA. (NASA/Stu Broce)

NASA’s Earth resources aircraft, as well as multiple satellites, are providing critical data to aid various agencies responding to the wildfires damaging vast areas of southern California. NASA operates two Lockheed ER-2 Earth resources aircraft as flying laboratories in the Sub-Orbital Science Program, collecting information on Earth resources, atmospheric chemistry and dynamics, and oceanic processes.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer  (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra  satellite acquired images of the largest of the blazes — the fast-moving Thomas fire  in Ventura County – as well as the Creek  and Rye  fires.