Through July, 2014, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite repeatedly captured images of eastern Russia’s landscape aflame with summer wildfires. This image, captured on July 25, is a false-color image of fires and burn scars in the Sakha Republic.
True color images are excellent at showing plumes of smoke and also show where thermal sensors detect hotspots – a combination which gives an effective view of actively burning fires. False-color images, such as this one, can highlight burn scars and thus can show a fire’s effect on the vegetation more clearly.
In this image, vegetation appears electric green, while clouds and smoke appear light blue. Land, exposed by burning off vegetation, appears dark brown. These scars stand out starkly against the vegetation between the Vilyuy Dam (lower left) and the Lena River (upper right). Most of the scar areas are quite large, especially in the northwest. Smoke continues to rise from many of the fires, as well, including a few smaller fires to the southwest of Vilyuy Dam.