Smoke Haze and Fires in Russia - July 2014

Smoke from wildfires hangs in a haze across much of this image of Russia.  The smoke is seen drifting across eastern Russia and downward into China.  Each red hot spot is an area where the thermal detectors on the MODIS instrument recognized temperatures higher than background. When accompanied by plumes of smoke, as in this image, such hot spots are diagnostic for fire.  This is not unusual in this remote region of Russia and at this time of year.  Wildfires burn large portions of the Russian landscape each summer due to hot, dry conditions.

The smoke released by any type of fire (forest, brush, crop, structure, tires, waste or wood burning) is a mixture of particles and chemicals produced by incomplete burning of carbon-containing materials. All smoke contains carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particulate matter (PM or soot). Smoke can contain many different chemicals, including aldehydes, acid gases, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), benzene, toluene, styrene, metals and dioxins. The type and amount of particles and chemicals in smoke varies depending on what is burning, how much oxygen is available, and the burn temperature.

This natural-color satellite image was collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite on July 24, 2014. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS’s thermal bands, are outlined in red.  NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption: NASA/Goddard, Lynn Jenner

Page Last Updated: July 24th, 2014
Page Editor: Lynn Jenner