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Fires in the Southern United States

Fires in the Southern United States

On March 20, 2007, the southern United States was scattered with numerous fires. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this photo-like image and fire detections, which are marked with red dots. Some of the fire detections appear only as “hotspots,” places where MODIS detected unusually high temperatures, while other fires are producing obvious smoke plumes. An especially smoky group of fires was occurring near the Florida-Georgia state line.

According to the March 20 daily situation report from the Southern Area Coordination Center of the National Interagency Fire Center, the majority of the fires in the Southern United States so far this year have been human-caused (accidental, arson, or prescribed) rather than lightning-caused. At the time of this image, most of the large fires being monitored by the Southern Area Coordination Center were prescribed fires—fires set intentionally by forest service or other land managers to improve vegetation conditions or reduce the risk of fire later in the season.

The large image provided above has a spatial resolution (level of detail) of 500 meters per pixel. The MODIS Rapid Response Team provides twice-daily images of the United States (and other parts of the world) as a subset of individual images in a variety or resolutions.

NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center