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Around 554 Wildfires Still Raging in Russia – August 9th, 2010

56.9N 49.9E

August 9th, 2010 Category: Fires, Image of the day

Russia - July 30th, 2010

Russia continues to be affected by wildfires, as state media report that about 270 new wildfires have started in the drought-plagued country over the past 24 hours. Although as many as 276 wildfires have been extinguished, it is estimated that 554 wildfires are still raging on an area of over 190,000 hectares.

According to Russia’s health and social development ministry, wildfires have killed at least 52 people and left dozens hospitalized. Moscow is choking in intense smog, with toxic substances at levels several times greater than the norm, from the combination of forest fires and pollutants.

Several large blazes can be seen in the upper half of the thumbnail image, with the lower half veiled by smoke. In the full image, other fires can be seen further south (the two in the bottom left corner are situated in Kazakhstan).

Although the exact location of the blazes is difficult to pinpoint due to the hazy skies, those visible here are located somewhere east of Moscow and between Yekaterinburg and Syktyvkar.

City of Saratov on the Volga River, Russia

51.5N 46.0E

May 16th, 2010 Category: Rivers

Russia - April 28th, 2010

Russia - April 28th, 2010

Saratov is a major city in southern Russia. It is the administrative center of Saratov Oblast and a major port on the Volga River. Here, the city and surrounding suburbs are visible as a grey area on the eastern and western banks of the river towards the top of the image.

The Volga is the largest river in Europe in terms of length, discharge, and watershed. It flows through central Russia, and is widely viewed as the national river of Russia. Out of the twenty largest cities of Russia, eleven, including its capital Moscow, are situated in the Volga’s drainage basin. Some of the largest reservoirs in the world can be found along the Volga.

Dnieper River Entering the Black Sea, Ukraine

46.6N 32.5E

May 12th, 2010 Category: Lakes, Rivers

Black Sea - April 28th, 2010

Black Sea - April 28th, 2010

The Dnieper River flows southwest from the upper right corner of this image and into the Black Sea. One of the longest rivers in Europe, it rises west of Moscow and flows south through Belarus and Ukraine, emptying into the Black Sea after a course of 1,367 mi (2,200 km).

Several huge dams on the river are used in generating hydroelectric power. Navigable for nearly its entire length, it is an important shipping artery for eastern Europe.

Numerous Channels and Streams of Volga River Delta, Russia

46.0N 48.5E

June 6th, 2009 Category: Rivers

Volga River Delta, Russia - June 2nd, 2009

Volga River Delta, Russia - June 2nd, 2009

The Volga is the largest river in Europe in terms of length, discharge, and watershed. It belongs to the closed basin of the Caspian Sea.

Rising in the Valdai Hills 225 meters (738 ft) above sea level north-west of Moscow and  flows through the western part of Russia, before discharging into the Caspian Sea below Astrakhan at 28 meters (92 ft) below sea level.

The Volga Delta has a length of about 160 kilometres and includes as many as 500 channels and smaller rivers. Here, such channels appear white and grey, making a streaked, lightning-like pattern across the radar image.

The largest estuary in Europe, it is the only place in Russia where pelicans, flamingoes, and lotuses may be found.

Northeasterly Winds Fan Smoke from Baikal Blazes

53.1N 107.6E

May 22nd, 2009 Category: Fires

Fires near Lake Baikal, Russia - May 22nd, 2009

Fires near Lake Baikal, Russia - May 22nd, 2009

Fires south of Lake Baikal

Fires south of Lake Baikal

Fires southeast of Lake Baikal

Fires southeast of Lake Baikal

Winds blowing to the northeast fan the smoke from fires around Lake Baikal, in Russia’s Irkutsk Oblast.

These fires have been burning for over a week (click here for previous articles).

Fires are common in Russia at this time of year; typically there are few wildfires per week in a region, although they don’t affect every region.

Six years ago the Russian Federation Ministry of Natural Resources launched a new wildfire detection and monitoring system that uses space downlink stations situated in Moscow, Ekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Yakutsk and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Each station downloads and processes data from the Terra satellites with an observation radius of 3,000km. This system detects early-stage wildfires by their smoke plumes at a minimum recognizable area of 30 square meters.