Sunday, August 08, 2010



Dense, billowing white and gray smoke pours from wildfires and shrouds the ground near Nizhny Novgorod, western Russia, as the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite passed overhead on July 27, 2010. The city lies at the confluence of the Oka and the Volga Rivers, just southeast of center in this image. It is the fourth largest city in Russia, the administrative center of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast and the Volga Federal District, and home to more than 1.3 million people. Although it lies in a relatively clear section of the image, the city is almost entirely obscured by haze, smoke and cloud cover.

Major fires can be seen as large red hotspots in the forests east of Nizhny Novgorod and north of the meandering Volga River, and also as a bright band of large hotspots in the western mountains. The extremely dense, billowing white smoke and large red squares in the southwest of this image marks intense infernos, where both forest and peat blaze out of control.

The fires ignited in late July, after weeks of extreme heat joined a long-standing drought to turn vegetation tinder-dry. Reported as the hottest summer since record keeping began in Russia 130 years ago, highs of 40°C (104°F) have been reported, with many days exceeding 35°C (95°F). In the region, the average high in July is only 19°C (66°F).

Although many of the fires captured in this image have come under control, weather forecasts call for continuing hot, dry conditions and “extreme” fire danger in many regions. So far this year, fires have burned over 729,761 hectares and killed at least 52 people in Russia. At least 540 homes were destroyed in the area covered by this image.


Smoke and fires across western Russia. Latest currently available image: 5th August, taken at 08 :20 UTC


Russians seek shelter as fires rage out of control‘Russian firefighters appeared to losing their battle against the wildfires even as firefighters from Italy, Germany and Bulgaria flew in to help. More fires broke out overnight with the number increasing to 853 across Russia from 831, blazing across a territory of 193,516 hectares.

By Catherine Belton in Moscow and Isabel Gorst in Nizhny Novgorod [Financial Times published: August 7 2010 15:34 ]


Global distribution of fire occurrences. Latest fire map: 10 July 2010 - 19 July 2010. Source: MODIS Rapid Response System

This extraordinary image shows forest fires burning across the globe during a ten-day period last month.

The MODIS Rapid Response System was developed to provide daily satellite images of the Earth's landmasses in near real time. True-color, photo-like imagery and false-color imagery are available within a few hours of being collected, making the system a valuable resource for organizations like the U.S. Forest Service and the international fire monitoring community, who use the images to track fires.

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