Thick smoke blanketed eastern Russia on May 26, 2011, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this image. The smoke is rising from clusters of intense wildfires, which are marked in red.
The fires are burning in the forests around the Aldan and Lena rivers in the Sakha Republic (Yakutiya). According to Rusian Tsalikov, the first deputy minister of EMERCOM on Russia, the fires in the Russian Far East are more extreme than usual, requiring federal firefighting assitance. Most of the fires, said Tsalikov, were started by people burning grasses and undergrowth. Hot, dry, and windy weather helped the fires expand to the forests.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek.