Fires Throughout Colombia, South America

Devastating forest fires swept through Colombia, South America during January and have burned a total of 11,946 hectares (29,496 acres).  There are still at least 15 blazes still active according to the Colombian government, and from the MODIS image above it looks as though there are many more hotspots throughout the country.

The wildfire outbreak is being blamed on the climatic phenomenon El Niño which has caused a persistent drought in Colombia in recent months, and in turn has created the conditions for constant wildfires.

This natural-color satellite image was collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite on March 10, 2015. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS’s thermal bands, are outlined in red. Each hot spot, which appears as a red mark, 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.

NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption: NASA/Goddard, Lynn Jenner

Page Last Updated: March 12th, 2015
Page Editor: Lynn Jenner