On the plains to the northwest of southern Russia’s Lake Baikal, a swath of fires was burning on May 7, 2005. In this image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite, Lake Baikal appears near the lower right edge, still mostly ice covered except for a small crack in the center. Locations where MODIS detected actively burning fires are marked in red. West of the lake, the Sayan Mountain Range is still covered in snow.
The widespread nature of the fires, their location, and the time of year suggest these are agricultural fires being used to clear and renew pasture or farmland. While they are not necessarily immediately hazardous, such fires can have a strong impact on weather, climate, human health, and natural resources.
NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data obtained from the MODIS Rapid Response team.