April 19, 2024 - Wildfires in Venezuela


Heavy smoke and widespread blazes marked the continuation of a record-breaking fire season in Venezuela into April 2024.

According to data posted by Queimadas, a program of Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) thermal sensor detected more than 9,000 fire counts in both January and February. That’s higher than any other count in January or February since the beginning of the MODIS record. In March, the sensor detected more than 11,000 fires; the only other March that the sensor detected more was in 2003.

While numbers for the entire month of April are not in yet, fires continue to start and spread in the tinder-dry forests, including several national parks. In a normal year, Venezuela’s fire season trends with the dry season, starting in December and peaking in March. By April, the rainy season usually (and literally) dampens the fires, with numbers dropping precipitously by May. Unfortunately, unusual warm and dry weather roasted much of South America in 2023, leaving the vegetation primed to burn.

The MODIS on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired a dramatic true-color image of wildfires and smoke in Venezuela on April 15. The image centers on the state of Bolivar, where the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) reported a large wildfire had burnt 5,069 hectares between April 11 – April 15.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 4/15/2024
Resolutions: 1km (53 KB), 500m (183.9 KB), 250m (552.1 KB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC