November 29, 2020 - Fires in Paraguay & Argentina

Fires in Paraguay & Argentina

As the end of a year filled with high temperatures, widespread drought, and widespread destructive blazes approaches, many areas of South America still smolder and flame. On November 24, 2020, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired a true-color image of fires burning in Paraguay and Argentina.

The silt-laden Parana River winds through the scene, forming the border between Argentina (south) and Paraguay (North). Red “hot spots” mark areas where the thermal bands on the MODIS instrument detected high temperatures. When combined with typical smoke, such hots spots indicate actively burning fire. Several small fires and one large one dot the landscape of Paraguay while three very large fires spread south of the Parana in Argentina. Brazil, located in the southeast and east, sits under wispy clouds and appears fire-free.

The dark green peninsular arm of Argentina is the Misiones province, which contains a mostly intact remnant of the extremely endangered Atlantic Rainforest ecosystem. The fires appear to be burning south of Posadas, Argentina, the capital of Misiones province, likely outside of the remnant rainforest. When viewed at high resolution, two of the Argentinian fires appear to burn in tan agricultural land. The western fire, however, sits in an area colored deep green, typical of forest. This fire nearly encroaches on the border of Parque Iberá — a important protected area that encompasses an expansive wetland ecosystem as well as adjacent forests and grasslands. The deep green of Parque Iberá spreads to the southwest of the flames.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 11/24/2020
Resolutions: 1km (195 KB), 500m (756.9 KB), 250m (2.5 MB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC