In early February, 2014, multiple fires burned across Victoria, Australia. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image on February 6 as it flew overhead. Areas where temperatures were higher than background, as detected by the MODIS thermal sensors, are marked in red. When combined with smoke, such red “hotspots” indicate actively burning fires.
Hot, dry, windy conditions in Victoria have set the stage for blistering fire conditions across the state. With vegetation tinder-dry, the slightest spark is at high risk for rapid ignition that easily results in a wind-driven, out-of-control bushfire.
The fires in this image are located in and around the Snowy River National Park. Two large fires were burning in the Yalmy and Deddick Valley area. Neither bushfire was under control at the time this image was captured, although authorities were already on the scene at the time, and continued to fight these active fires through February 16.
In Deddick Valley, seventeen vehicles have been attending the 15,000+ acre fire. In Yalmy , as of February 16, 71 vehicles were attending the 318,467 acre blaze. According to ABCNews, about 9,000 head of livestock have been lost in the fires, and another 3,000 are missing. 200 household emergency relief grants had been issued as of February 14. Worse, the Country Fire Authority reported that at least 26 homes had been destroyed across the state by the bushfire outbreak.