The High Park Fire was started by lightning early in the morning on 09 June 2012, approximately 15 miles west of Fort Collins (InciWeb). Daily comparisons of 250-meter resolution MODIS true color and false color Red/Green/Blue (RGB) images from the SSEC MODIS Today site (above) are shown for 08 June (the day before the fire started; note the burn scar on the false color image from the Hewlett Fire that burned near that same location back in May 2012), and then after the fire was burning on 09 June, 10 June, and 11 June 2012. The areal extent of the smoke is clearly seen on the true color images, while the false color images show very hot active fires (bright pink on the 09 and 10 June images) or the coverage of the burn scar (the light brown feature seen through the thin veil of smoke on the 11 June image).
AWIPS images of 1-km resolution MODIS 3.7 µm shortwave IR data (below) showed the growth of the fire “hot spot” from 19:42 UTC on 09 June to 09:18 UTC on 10 June. Note how the fire hot spot was seen to grow eastward and then curve southward in the wake of a cold frontal passage that brought strong northerly winds to the region.
The curved shape of the fire hot spot was more clearly seen on a 375-meter resolution (projected onto a 1-km AWIPS grid) Suomi NPP VIIRS 3.74 µm shortwave IR image at 08:30 UTC or 2″30 AM local time on 10 June (below). The corresponding 0.7 µm VIIRS Day/Night Band image showed the bright glow of the actively burning fire complex, which was likely accentuated with moonlight reflection off the top of the dense smoke plumes that were rising over the fire source region.