Red hotspots, along with plumes of smoke, speckled the landscape of the southeastern United States in late March, 2013. The red marks indicated localities where thermal anomalies have been detected, and, when combined with characteristic smoke plumes, they indicate actively burning fires.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this true-color image on March 27, 2013. In the previous week, there had been over 1,000 new fires reported across the South, including those seen here, which burn in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. There were 17 new large fires, with 3 being uncontained, as well as numerous smaller ones. A “large fire” is defined by the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) as a wildfire of 100 acres or more occurring in timber, or a wildfire of 300 acres or more occurring in grass/sage.
In addition to these wildfires there are many prescribed burns, which are set and watched over by various agencies to either rid areas of undergrowth that could cause problems later during the hotter, drier months, or for agricultural purposes.