June 20, 2014 - Fires in central China

Fires in central China

Fires dot the landscape in the Henan region of Central China in early June, 2014. This true-color satellite image was collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite on June 07, 2014. Each hot spot, which appears as a red mark, is an area where the thermal detectors on the MODIS instrument recognized temperatures higher than background. When accompanied by plumes of smoke, as in this image, such hot spots are diagnostic for fire.

The Henan region is a major wheat producing region, and June is a month of harvest. According to Xinhua/Wang Song, farmers in Henan have harvested 79.39 mu (5.29 million hectares) of wheat by June 11. Given the distribution and the timing of the fires, they are likely agricultural in origin, and have been deliberately set to clear stubble from fields post-harvest, or to prepare fields for re-planting, or freshen fields for pasture.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 6/7/2014
Resolutions: 1km (79.5 KB), 500m (300.4 KB), 250m (760 KB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC