More than 30 taiga wildfires burned in the Far East of Russia on July 10, 2012. According to the ITAR-TASS news agency, the fires had burned more than 2,200 hectares (9 square miles) in Yakutia and 2,000 hectares in Khabarovsk Territory.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this image of the fires on July 9, 2012. Thick smoke billowing from numerous wildfires between the Maya and Aldan rivers is visible blowing northwest. The red outlines indicate hot spots where MODIS detected unusually warm surface temperatures associated with fires.
Russian firefighters have battled uncontrolled fires for months. According to the environmental group Greenpeace, more land in Russia had burned in 2012 than in 2010, a year that intense wildfires affected western Russia. ITAR-TASS reported that more than 1,826 forest fires had burned a total of 195,800 hectares in the Far East of Russia.
It isn’t uncommon for smoke from large wildfires in Siberia to be lofted high enough into the atmosphere that winds push plumes of it across the Pacific Ocean to North America. Significant amounts of smoke arrived in British Columbia in Canada this week, according to CBC News.
- NASA Earth Observatory. (2010, August 31). Russian Firestorm: Finding a Fire Cloud from Space.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response. Caption by Adam Voiland.