Flames raced through the forests northeast of Athens, Greece, on August 22, 2009, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image. Areas where the sensor detected fire on the ground are outlined in red.
The fire outside Athens started on Friday, August 21, north of the famed Marathon plain. Aided by strong winds, the fire quickly grew, reaching the edge of Athens, said the Associated Press. The wind also blew thick plumes of smoke from the fire over the city. The smoke plume extends more than a hundred kilometers over the Aegean Sea in this image.
As of August 24, six major wildfires burned in Greece, consuming more than 15,000 hectares of forest and brush, reported the Associated Press. On the afternoon of August 22, MODIS detected five of the fires. The fires destroyed homes and forced evacuations, but caused no serious injuries to date, said the Associated Press.
Hot, dry summers make Greece prone to fire. In 2007, massive fires on the Peloponnesus Peninsula killed 76 people and burned vast tracts of forest.
The large image provided above is at MODIS’ maximum resolution of 250 meters per pixel. The image is available in additional resolutions from the MODIS Rapid Response System.
- Gatopoulos, D. (2009, August 24). Fire crews scramble to tame Greek fires, save nuns. Associated Press. Accessed August 24, 2009.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek.
- Aqua - MODIS