March 24, 2014 - Fires in southern India

Fires in southern India

Fires burned across India in mid-March, 2014, especially along forested regions. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite captured a true-color image of the region on March 16, 2014. Red marks areas where the thermal sensors on the instrument detected temperatures higher than background. When combined with typical smoke plumes, such “hotspots” indicate actively burning fire.

One large fire burned around Tirumala Hills, in Seshachalam Forest in Andhra Pradesh, threatening the famous Balaji temple for at least three days. A joint operation between the Indian Air Force and the Army controlled the fire on March 21, according to news reports, although firefighters are expected to continue to douse the flames for many more days to completely extinguish the fires. Over 5,000 hectares of forest land was burned by this fire alone.

A hot, dry summer following a winter with low snowpack has been cited as increasing fire risk across southern India.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 3/16/2014
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC