May 6, 2014 - Fires in North Korea

Fires in North Korea

On April 25, 2014 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASAís Aqua satellite captured a true-color image of dozens of fires burning across North Korea. Actively burning areas, detected by MODISís thermal bands, are outlined in red. Fields and grasslands appear light brown. Forests at lower elevations appear green; at higher elevations, forests are still brown at this time of year.

May fires appear in farming areas along rivers. While North Koreaís best agricultural land is located on the coastal plain in the western part of the country, many people farm marginal land along rivers in the mountainous areas. They use fire to clear debris from last yearís crop and to help fertilize the soil for the coming season. However, some of the fires were burning in heavily forested areas, suggesting that they might be wildfires. Drooping wires on aging power lines are a common cause of wildfires in North Korea, according to a report published in the Asia-Pacific Journal. Collectively, the fires were producing enough smoke to send plumes of haze drifting east over the Sea of Japan.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 4/25/2014
Resolutions: 1km (181.9 KB), 500m (648.4 KB), 250m (1.6 MB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC