Large fires were burning in the forested mountains of Russia’s Buryatia region and Mongolia’s Belenge Province on May 21, 2009, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image. Brisk winds must have been blowing, as the smoke plumes from the fires were all streaming nearly due east. Places where MODIS detected actively burning fires are outlined in red. According to the May 20 fire situation report of the Aerial Forest Fire Protection Service of Russia (translation provided by the Global Fire Monitoring Center), 12 large fires were burning in Buryatia, affecting a combined 2,670 hectares (about 6,600 acres).
NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey.