Global Wildfires: NASA Image From Space Shows 'World Is on Fire'

nasa wildfires around the world
NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System shows where fires are burning throughout the globe. NASA

As wildfires burned around the globe, NASA released a satellite image taken from space that showed “the world on fire.”

The NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) Worldview application uses images from 700 global, full-resolution satellites, updated within three hours of observations to show the world as it is “right now.” The detection of thermal bands are displayed as red dots and an image taken on Wednesday appears to show, “ the world is on fire.”

NASA explained that the image seems to show that the most concentrated fires are taking place in Africa and the research organization reasoned that it’s likely because most of the fires are agricultural fires.

“The location, widespread nature, and number of fires suggest that these fires were deliberately set to manage land,” NASA said on its website. “Farmers often use fire to return nutrients to the soil and to clear the ground of unwanted plants. While fire helps enhance crops and grasses for pasture, the fires also produce smoke that degrades air quality.”

nasa wildfires around the world NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System shows where fires are burning throughout the globe. NASA

As for North and South America, the image indicates that blazes are predominantly wildfires, which accounts for the fact that the red dots are more spread out. Central Chile, like the United States, is also experiencing extreme drought conditions, which aids the spread of the fires.

So far this year the United States has experienced 42,697 fires, according to the National Interagency Fire Center, and a total of 6,239,106 acres have been burned. In British Columbia, Global News reported, there are 560 active fires burning and over 1,853,290 acres have burned, making it the third worst wildfire in British Columbia’s history.

NASA pointed out that Brazil is currently experiencing both wildfires and man-made fires, used to clear land for raising cattle or other agricultural needs.  

“The problem with these fires is that they grow out of control quickly due to climate issues,” NASA explained. “Hot, dry conditions coupled with wind drive fires far from their original intended burn area.”

Australia’s January to July period in 2018 has been the warmest since 1910, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, which has caused brushfires to become larger and more extreme.  

In various areas around the world where wildfires have been raging, the smoke from the blazes has contributed to poor air quality, leading to various agencies issuing warnings to residents.  While wildfires used to be confined to only the hottest months, the wildfire season has extended to most of the year in some areas.

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