Wildfires continued to burn in northern Canada in early July, 2014, consuming thousands of acres of vegetation and pouring a river of smoke into the air. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image on July 7 as it passed over the region.
In this image, large red hotspots dot the northern region, and an especially dense collection forms an arc north of Great Slave Lake, in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Heavy smoke billows from these hotspots, almost completely obscuring the Great Slave Lake from view as they blow in a generally southerly direction. These smoke plumes joint a very broad river of atmospheric smoke that flows from the northwest through the center of this image, then southerly into Alberta and Saskatchewan. According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, smoke had drifted as far south as North Dakota and South Dakota in the United States by July 9.
Hot, dry conditions have left Canada’s boreal forests tinder-dry this spring and summer, and the conditions are not improving as the warmest months progress. According to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center, as of July 15 Canada had experienced 2,507 fires in 2014, and those fires had consumed 1,127,421.95 hectares to date. They reported 31 new fires in the previous 24 hours. As of July 8, the fires in the Northwest Territories destroyed one home and forced hundreds of people to evacuate.