Thick smoke hung over Victoria and spread eastward to the Tasman Sea on December 8, 2006. When the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite passed over head that morning and captured this image, only a few of the active fires (marked in red) could be detected through the smoke. Although Melbourne had been spared the thick smoke on previous days, on this morning, the plume was encroaching on the northeast edge of the metro area. Skies over the Snowy Range Mountains in New South Wales cleared to the north.
At least 50 fires were burning in early December in Victoria, and many were threatening to merge into unified, large blazes. Weather conditions over the weekend were predicted to deteriorate, making the work of firefighters even more difficult. High temperatures and far-below-average rainfall in the area have elevated the late spring fire hazard across the region.
The high-resolution image provided above has a spatial resolution of 250 meters per pixel. The MODIS Rapid Response System provides twice-daily images of the area in additional resolutions.
NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center
- Terra - MODIS