Image of the Week: Fire in Greenland

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Detailed Description

Even on an island of ice and glaciers, wildfires can occur. This August, Earth-observing satellites detected this fire burning in western Greenland.

At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface.

USGS EROS Center (


Image Dimensions: 1280 x 720

Date Taken:

Length: 00:00:45

Location Taken: GL


It may be surprising
that a wildfire is burning

on a huge island of ice
and glaciers, but fires do

happen in Greenland.

This August, Earth-observing
satellites detected a fire,

burning in a remote area
of western Greenland.

A dry summer may have led to
the igniting of willows,

shrubs, grasses, and mosses
in this coastal area.

Landsat’s shortwave infrared,
near-infrared, and red bands

combine to show the difference
between burned and unburned

vegetation. Hazy smoke rises
from the burned area to mix

with a few bright, white puffy
clouds in the August 12 image.