May 19, 2011 - Fires in central Russia

Fires in central Russia

An outbreak of spring wildfires in the Siberian Far East has spread to central Russia. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite captured this true-color image on May 8, 2011 at 8:05 UTC.

Red hotspots mark areas of thermal anomaly, where sensors detect temperatures higher than background temperature. Accompanied by smoke plumes, these are diagnostic of fire.

Fires are scattered throughout the region, but are most marked in areas of tan land near the south of Russia, near the border with Kazakhstan. Fires also cluster along rivers, particularly the Ob River, which can be seen running from the top of the image to the right side, and the chief tributary of the Ob, the Irtysh, which can be seen flowing vertically through the center of the image. In the lower left corner, smoke has accumulated and forms a large gray veil over Kazakhstan and Russia.

On May 8, United Press International (UPI) reported that more than 34 wildfires in Siberia were burning over an area of more than 3,000 acres, and that the fire area had increased by more than 2,000 acres in the past 24 hours. These statistics do not include all of the fires burning in central Russia. The cause of most of the fires is considered to be human activity.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 5/8/2011
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC