EarthView–Large Wildfire Consumes Boreal Forest in Eastern Russia

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Parts of greater Siberia, usually known for its shivering, is heating up in this week's EarthView...

EarthViews is a continuing series in which we share a USGS Image of the Week featuring the USGS/NASA Landsat program. From the artistry of Earth imagery to natural and human-caused land change over time, check back every Friday to finish your week with a visual flourish!

Image shows side-by-side satellite images of a forest fire in Russia
A massive wildfire on the Kamchatka Peninsula in far eastern Russia has consumed nearly 600,000 acres of boreal forest and tundra since late May 2016.

The EarthView: Large Wildfire Consumes Boreal Forest in Eastern Russia

Description:

A massive wildfire on the Kamchatka Peninsula in far eastern Russia has consumed nearly 600,000 acres of boreal forest and tundra since late May 2016.

Shortwave infrared bands on Landsat 7 used in combination with the visible red band revealed a large, brown burn scar on June 10, 2016, compared to 11 months earlier-on July 18, 2015-when Landsat 8 captured an image showing healthy, growing forest vegetation. Fires appear orange in the 2016 image, and smoke from the fires is light blue.

The Siberian Times reported that smoke from the Russian wildfire was “producing exceptional sunsets” in the western United States and Canada. The newspaper attributed the Kamchatka fire and others this spring in eastern Russia in part to an unusually warm and dry winter, and faster than normal snowmelt.

The Kamchatka Peninsula occupies an area of roughly 100,000 square miles, with the Pacific Ocean to the east of the peninsula and the Sea of Okhotsk to the west. Most of the fire has been on the western side of the peninsula, north of the Kharyryuzova River.

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