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Archive for Fires

Fires East of James Bay, Canada

51.8N 78.1W

June 29th, 2013 Category: Fires MODISAqua

Canada – June 28th, 2013

Several large fires burning in the Canadian province of Quebec, east of James Bay, the southernmost reaches of the Hudson Bay, release thick white smoke. The plumes of smoke from the fires nearest the bay blow westward, while those further east blow to the northwest. The smoke from those clustered near the shores of the bay release thick smoke that fans out as it cross the shoreline, obscuring the rich brown sediments coloring the waters below.

Fires Near Mouth of Nelson River, Canada

57.7N 93.9W

June 28th, 2013 Category: Fires, Rivers MODISTerra

Canada – June 28th, 2013

Plumes of smoke from several fires near the Hudson Bay, in the province of Manitoba, Canada, waft towards the southwest, away from the bay. In the bay itself, ice can be seen melting as summer begins, while sediments from the Nelson River enter in the lower right quadrant.

Fire in Gila National Forest, New Mexico, USA – June 28th, 2013

33.6N 108.6W

June 28th, 2013 Category: Fires, Image of the day MODISTerra

USA – June 27th, 2013

Smoke from a large fire in the Gila National Forest, in New Mexico, west of the Rio Grande (running parallel to the right edge), can be seen fanning out over a great area as it blows westward. The Gila National Forest covers approximately 2,710,659 acres (1,100,000 ha) of public land. Terrain ranges from rugged mountains and deep canyons to semi-desert. Due to the extremely rugged terrain, the area is largely unspoiled.

Sunglint on Lakes and Fire in Southern USA

32.7N 96.8W

June 28th, 2013 Category: Fires, Lakes MODISTerra

USA – June 26th, 2013

Many lakes and reservoirs, highlighted by sunglint and thus appearing silvery green in color, dot the left half of this image of Texas and Lousiana, in southern USA. In the lower right quadrant, a fire can be seen releasing a plume of smoke that blows towards the northeast.

Climate Change Fuelling Colorado Wildfires – June 27th, 2013

38.0N 108W

June 28th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Fires, Image of the day VIIRSSuomi-NPP

USA – June 26th, 2013

Smoke billows forth from wildfires blazing in the forests of the Rocky Mountains, in the state of Colorado, USA. These fires have already consumed 125 square miles and are zero percent contained.

What’s propelling these fires are dry conditions made worse by strong winds and an ongoing spruce-beetle infestation. The beetles tunnel under bark, laying eggs that will eventually kill trees. Scientists have reached a┬áconsensus that climate change is to blame:

North America is witnessing the largest pine-beetle epidemic in recorded history. From Canada’s Yukon Territory to New Mexico, pine trees by the hundreds of millions are succumbing to a fungus that the beetles carry. The pine needles of infected trees first turn a violent red, then they fall, and, finally, the dead tree topples over. Year by year, communities have watched a scourge advance across mountainsides and through neighborhoods, trees turning from green to red to gray. The beetles now attack 12 pine species, from the high-elevation whitebark pine to the lower-elevation ponderosa and pi├▒on. The blight has devastated 3.3 million acres in Colorado alone since the 1990s.

Beetles kill, die off, and regenerate, all of which is part of a lodgepole pine forest’s natural life cycle. But human activity helped set the stage for the current epidemic. Decades of fire suppression have left the West with dense stands of vulnerable, elderly trees. Climate has also played a role. Frigid winters that usually kill the beetles have become, over the past 20 years, the exception rather than the rule. Earlier snowmelt and longer summers have altered the beetles’ range and life cycle; they now attack pines at higher altitudes and latitudes, and they reproduce twice a year instead of once. Earlier springs and a series of dry years have also weakened trees, turning them into ideal beetle food (click here for more information).

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