Fueled by the powerful Santa Ana winds that whip from the high-altitude deserts of the Great Basin toward the Pacific Ocean, 12 large wildfires raged in California on October 23, 2007. The fires clouded the air over the Pacific with dense plumes of smoke that stretched across hundreds of kilometers. The immensity of the event is illustrated in the top photo-like image, captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS
) on NASA’s Terra
satellite on October 23.