See how Yellowstone National Park has recovered from the big 1988 fires: images from Landsat satellites.
View Image Comparison View Both Images The high mountain forests of western North America need fire. Fire returns nutrients to the soil and replaces old stands and ground debris with young forest. Intense fires are a characteristic of the conifer forests, though they occur infrequently—once every 100 to 300 years. The year 1988 brought one of those infrequent, severe fires to Yellowstone National Park. Drought and high temperatures combined to create extreme fire conditions. Fifty wildfires ignited, seven of which grew into major wildfires. By the end of the year, 793,000 acres had burned. These images, taken by the Landsat satellites, contrast 1989 and 2011. Burned land is deep red in the 1989 image. By 2011, more than two decades later, the scar faded to tan-orange, but it was still present. Year-to-year images are available in the Earth Observatory’s World of Change art...