High seasonal temperatures and strong winds fanned flames of hundreds of wildfires in Argentina in early September, 2013. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying aboard NASA’s Terra satellite flew over the region on September 11, 2013 and captured this true-color image of active fires pouring smoke across northern Argentina. At the time this image was captured, fires burned across at least seven provinces: Salta, Tucumán, San Luis, Mendoza, Jujuy, Neuquén and Río Negro, as well as near the city of Cordoba. Cordoba lies south of the edge of this image.
A large cluster of red hotspots (which indicate high temperatures associated with actively burning fires) can be seen in the dark green forests south of Tartagal, in the province of Salta. Smoke from these fires forms a gray river which blows far southward, driven by heavy winds. In spots the smoke is so thick that it completely obscures the ground from view.
Just south of the northernmost cluster of fires, the Bermejo River flows from west to east under the river of smoke. Rectangular tan shapes break the dark green color of the forested land east of the smoke. These are areas where the forest has been cleared to make way for human activities, primarily agriculture.