How to View Animated Satellite Imagery of the California Wildfires

Caitlin Dempsey


If you’re interested in view a timelapse of satellite imagery of the United States, NOAA has two weather satellites, GOES-16 (East) and GOES-17 (West), that deliver high-resolution visible and infrared imagery covering the country.

The Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch (RAMMB) of NOAA/NESDIS offers SLIDER, an online tool that lets users view animations of imagery captured by these two satellites as well as several other satellites.

This application lets users view a number of satellite products such as GeoColor, fire temperature, dust, and cloud cover just to name a few.

Satellite Imagery of the United States

To access an animated view of the current wildfires currently happening along the West Coast, first visit the SLIDER web page.

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Since the wildfires are happening in parts of Washington, Oregon, and California, the GOES-West (or GOES-17) satellite provides a better view of this side of the United States. To select this satellite, pick GOES-17 from the satellite drop-down menu.

The page will refresh with the entire GOES-West satellite view. Use your cursor to double-click on the West Coast area to zoom in.

You can use your to pan the image to center it over the area you are interested in. When you have the area of interest centered on your screen, you can change the length of the animated loop, dates of the animated, type of band shown, and other options on the left.

Once you have the animated satellite view set up, you can either use a screenshot software to create a video of the animation or select an animated image or single image option from the access button.

To start making your own animated satellite views of the wildfires on the west coast visit: the SLIDER web page

GeoColor view of the wildfires burning in Oregon and California on September 9, 2020.

The fire temperature band is one way to visualize where the fires are burning.

view of the wildfires burning in Oregon and California on September 9, 2020.
Fire temperature view of the wildfires burning in Oregon and California on September 9, 2020.


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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.