The use of Landsat data has exploded since the United States Geological Survey (USGS) began distributing the data at no cost via the internet. In the best sales year, around 25,000 images were sold. The Landsat project has now exceeded that number in a single day. In fact, the 9 millionth image was distributed on September 1, 2012.
Multiple firefighting agencies are using imagery -- provided by federally funded Landsat 5 and 7, Aqua and Terra satellites -- to combat wildfires that continue to blaze across Arizona.
The satellites capture images of the Earth's surface and then, using color enhancements, firefighters can identify different regions most susceptible to wildfire burning. In the images, burn scars are red, ongoing fires are bright red, vegetation is green, smoke is blue and bare ground is tan-colored.