Environment

Russian Wildfires Blaze on an Area Larger than Los Angeles

ImaGeo iconImaGeoBy Tom YulsmanMay 5, 2014 5:01 PM
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The images that comprise this mosaic showing a large portion of Russia were captured on Monday, April 5 by NASA's Terra satellite. Red dots mark areas where a sensor on the spacecraft detected fire. (Source: NASA) With geopolitical fires continuing to smolder between Russia and Ukraine, actual wildfires have erupted across a vast swath of territory to the east. You can spot the Russian wildfires in the mosaic of satellite images above showing a large portion of the country as it looks from space today. Each red dot marks a spot on the ground where a sensor on NASA's Terra satellite has detected fire. More than 100 fires are burning today on 140,471 hectares, which is equal to 542 square miles, according to The Voice of Russia Radio. That's half again as large as the City of Los Angeles. Fires are burning in the Irkutsk region, the Omsk region, near Lake Baikal, and other areas.

Smoke plumes from fires burning in the Irkutsk region are visible in this image captured by NASA's Terra satellite on Monday, May 5, 2014. Areas where a sensor on the spacecraft detected fire are marked with red dots. (Source: NASA) Voice of Russia Radio attributes most of the fires to "negligence of local residents and agricultural burnings."

Global temperature anomalies for March. (Source: NASA/GISS But the risk of wildfire has no doubt been increased by warm temperatures that have gripped much of Russia for many months. March was particularly warm across a vast swath of territory. Click on the thumbnail at right to see how temperatures in March departed from the long-term average around the globe. The big, dark, red blob over Russia stands in stark contrast to the colder-than-average temperatures experienced across a portion of North America. (For the record, March was the fourth warmest on record globally.) Temperatures in the city of Irkutsk continued to run well above average for April as well, according to AccuWeather.

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