Sweden is not a country typically known for its summer wildfires. Fires occur regularly, but not in the intesity of this year's blaze that has been affecting the region of Västmanland since 31 July 2014.
The fire grew to the largest one in 40 years. It has affected more than 150 square kilometers, killed one person and forced thousands to evacuate.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured dozens of wildfires in Canada and the northwestern United States. Actively burning areas, detected by the thermal bands on MODIS, are outlined in red. Forests appear dark green.
This image of intense bushfires in and around Grampians National Park in western Victoria, Australia, was captured from Space on 17 January by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite.
Some wildfire experts state that the expansion of communities in Colorado’s Fire Zone during the last decades is an important factor to understand the increasing destruction caused by wildfires of the area. The six most destructive fires in Colorado prior to 2000 destroyed an average of 15 homes, according to the Colorado State Forest Service. However, in the last years Colorado’s wildfires have become increasingly destructive, with the Waldo Canyon fire of 2012 burning down 346 homes.
For more than a decade Earth-observing satellites have been scanning the surface of our planet searching for fires while scientists combine their space-based data to predict crucial fire behavior and therefore try to mitigate potential damages. In the western United States, California and Colorado, the 2013 wildfire season has started earlier than normal due to the favorable conditions for fire present in this area.
The carbonaceous particles rising high into the air in the context of wildfires significantly degrade air quality, damage human and wildlife health, and interact with sunlight to affect climate. But measurements taken during the 2011 Las Conchas fire near Los Alamos National Laboratory show that the actual carbon-containing particles emitted by fires are very different than those used in current computer models, providing the potential for inaccuracy in current climate-modeling results, as Science Daily reported.