Large fires are a regular feature in the savannah grasslands of Australia’s Northern Territory. This image, taken on September 27, 2011, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite, shows three massive fires. Active fires are marked in red, while newly burned land is dark brown and black.
Whether deliberately started or ignited by lightning or accident, these fires shows signs of having been at least partly managed by people. Straight lines define some of the edges of the burned land, suggesting the presence of some kind of manmade firebreak. The Northern Territory Government uses MODIS measurements of fire locations and burned areas to track fire across the sparsely populated territory.
NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek.