Aug 14, 2009

Satellite imagery shows devastation caused by California forest fires

Estimated Article Reading Time: 3 min.


Satellite imagery from the recently launched UK-DMC2 satellite shows forest fires in the Los Padres National Forest east of Santa Maria at 11:10 local time on the 12th August.

California is currently experiencing widespread forest fires, which has lead to evacuations in two areas. Earlier today, Bloomberg reported that more than 1,900 fire fighters were battling the blaze that has burned at least 48,457 acres in the Los Padres National Forest area of Santa Barbara County.

The image was acquired by DMCii in Guildford, UK from the new UK-DMC2 earth observation satellite just 16 days after its launch into the Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC) on 29th July.

To the East of Santa Maria, an enormous cloud of smoke from the fire can be clearly seen extending to the West above the patchwork agricultural of farms that begins in the outskirts of Santa Maria. The artificial red indicates green vegetation and the dark patch indicates burned areas, revealing the damage that has been caused to the trees of the Los Padres National Forest from which the smoke plume is blowing. The characteristic shape of Lake Cachuma can be seen to the south of the image.

The UK-DMC2 satellite was launched into the DMC constellation of earth observation satellites with the Spanish owned satellite Deimos-1 satellite. Both satellites were built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), and are already acquiring impressive satellite images of natural disasters, agricultural land and familiar landmarks around the world during the first week of their commissioning.

To find out more about UK-DMC2, its future role in disaster relief and Earth observation visit

About DMC International Imaging Ltd

DMC International Imaging Ltd (DMCii) is a UK based supplier of remote sensing data products and services for international Earth Observation (EO) markets. DMCii supplies programmed and archived optical satellite imagery provided by the multi-satellite Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC). DMC data is now used in a wide variety of commercial and government applications including agriculture, forestry and environmental mapping.

In partnership with the British National Space Centre (BNSC) and theother DMC member nations (Algeria, China, Nigeria, Turkey and Spain), DMCii works with the International Charter: ‘Space and Major Disasters’ to provide free satellite imagery for humanitarian use in the event of major international disasters such as tsunami, hurricanes, fires and flooding.

DMCii was formed in October 2004 and is a subsidiary of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, the world leader in small satellite technology. SSTL designed and built the DMC with the support of the BNSC and in conjunction with the DMC member nations Algeria, China, Nigeria, Turkey and Spain.

About SSTL

Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) is the world’s leading small satellite company, delivering operational space missions for a range of applications including Earth observation, science and communications. The company design, manufacture and operate high performance satellites and ground systems for a fraction of the price normally associated with spacecraft, with 300 staff working on turnkey satellite platforms, space-proven satellite subsystems and optical instruments.

Since 1981 SSTL has launched 34 satellites as well as providing training and development programmes, consultancy services, and mission studies for ESA, NASA and commercial customers, changing the economics of space.

Based in Guildford, UK, SSTL is owned by EADS Astrium NV.

Notes to editor:
This press release can be downloaded as a Word or Pdf document at the following url:

High resolution 2mb jpeg image available upon request by return. Image caption: UK-DMC2 satellite image showing forest fires in Los Padres National Forest. Image credits: Image acquired by DMCii, Copyright UK-DMC2 / SSTL 2009. Image released for media use, providing image is credited as above.

Press Contact:
Robin Wolstenholme, Ballard Communications Management (BCM) Tel: +44 (0)1306 882288 Email:

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