Monday, July 26, 2021

The World is Burning

In the summer the Northern Hemisphere normally experiences a number of large wildfires. However this year, following record breaking temperatures across large areas of the Northern Hemisphere, the number and size of wildfires has been unprecedented.

Wildfires have burned over 1.5 million hectares in Siberia. In Northern California the Dixie Fire has burned an area the size of Chicago. In Canada British Columbia has declared a state of emergency with nearly 300 active wildfires. In Italy around 7,500 firefighters have been fighting wildfires in Sardinia. In Northeastern Spain a large area near Tarragona has been blazing since Saturday. In France over 900 hectares of forest has burned in the department of Aude.

NASA's FIRMS (Fire Information for Resource Management System) interactive map provides near real-time active fire locations using data gathered from MODIS and VIIRS satellites. The FIRMS map is updated every five minutes. The satellites from which the data is gathered generally make two complete global overpasses a day. The data from these satellites is usually processed within three hours. You can actually overlay the satellite overpass tracks on top of the FIRMS map to see the acquisition times for a specific location.


The Global Wildfire Information System (GWIS) interactive map provides a 10 day danger forecast and near real-time information on active fires around the world.This map also uses FIRMS data. By identifying areas with higher temperatures than surrounding areas FIRMS is able to identify locations with active fires. The GWIS map also allows you to view burnt area perimeters for active fires using the same satellite data.

Kontur's Global Fires interactive map allows you to visualize all of the past year's global fire data. It also can be used to visualize smoke pollution during wildfire seasons around the world. The Global Fires map consists of two main views. Using the 'Fire (last year)' option you can view a year's worth of global wildfire activity play-out on the map. The other main view of Global Fires is the 'Air Quality (now)' option. This allows you to view the current data from air quality monitors across the world.

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