Although snow still lingers across southeastern Russia, dozens of red “hot spots” mark actively burning fires across the region. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color on April 18, 2013.
Most of the fires are burning in Zabaykalsky Krai in Siberia, an area where both agriculture and forestry are important sources of income for the population. It is likely that most of these fires have been deliberately set as an agricultural tool, used to ready pastures for grazing or ready land for this year’s crops. Even when fires are deliberately set, dry conditions and heavy wind can cause them to escape control, and resultant wildfires can consume many acres.
This same region suffered heavily from wildfires in the spring/summer of 2012. An image of the same region aflame in May, 2012 can be viewed at: http://modis.gsfc.nasa.gov/gallery/individual.php?db_date=2012-05-14 .