Satellite captures 36 Pit Fire smoke from space

Visible satellites picked up smoke clouds from the 1,000-acre fire near Estacada

Smoke from the 36 Pit Fire south of Estacada could be seen from space. (Sally Showman, KOIN 6 Meteorologist)
Smoke from the 36 Pit Fire south of Estacada could be seen from space. (Sally Showman, KOIN 6 Meteorologist)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — A satellite image captured from space shows smoke plumes from the 36 Pit Fire, as residents from Clackamas County to Salem spent Sunday night under smoky, ashy skies.

Clear skies allowed visible satellites to pick up the smoke clouds, gusting from the now 1,000-acre-and-growing fire roughly 10 miles south of Estacada.

“Mother Nature is here to let Oregonians know that she is still the boss when it comes to the weather,” said KOIN 6 Meteorologist Riley O’ Connor.

What’s with the red sky?

Many people woke up Sunday morning to a rust-colored sky due to mid-level winds pushing smoke toward the Portland Metro area.

“It almost gave that eerie feeling from a horror film,” said O’ Connor.

The smoke makes a reddish color in the sky, caused by the scattering of light by small particles in the atmosphere. This effect is known as Rayleigh scattering.

The air quality question

People who are sensitive to smoke and have respiratory issues may be most affected by the heavy smoke. Check the latest air quality reports here.

Smoky areas will still exist for the next 24-36 hours in the region, with the threat of dry thunderstorms in the forecast for Monday night along the Coast Range and Cascades.

What kind of weather are we in for?

Like much of the weekend, temperatures will climb quickly Monday, surpassing 80 degrees around noon and near 90 by late afternoon, according to KOIN 6 Meteorologist Sally Showman. Smoke may continue to billow into the Portland metro.

But good news is on the horizon: weather patterns will begin to change Wednesday, with cooler temperatures and the chance of showers Wednesday night and Thursday.

MORE: Updated forecast

With dry conditions expected through Monday a fire threat still exists, and a red flag warning will remain in effect until Tuesday at 5 a.m.

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