By Jonathan Lloyd
NASA is tracking wildfires globally, offering a view from high above Earth that reveals the scope and size of major fires, some of which produce smoke plumes that stretch for miles.
Using satellite imagery systems, researchers can illustrate a fire’s location and provide more information about fire behavior. In the images below, for example, red outlines with smoke indicate areas of active fire. Many of the images are produced using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer Rapid Response System (MODIS), which provides daily satellite images in near real-time. Firefighting agencies can use the images to track fires. MODIS also can tell the difference between flames and smoldering burns, giving researchers a better idea of how much particulate matter, which can affect air quality, is released by fires.
The images below are just some of those collected by NASA satellites, which detect wildfires in addition to prescribed fires set to clear dry brush and other fuels from an area, helping firefighters with containment efforts when a wildfire does break out.