Cape York Peninsula
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Cape York Peninsula

November 29, 2006

Large fires were scorching the savannas of northern Queensland's Cape York Peninsula in mid-November 2006. When the MODIS on NASA's Aqua satellite passed overhead on November 20, 2006, the sensor detected dozens of active fire locations (marked in red).

The burn scars the fires have left behind are dark brown compared to the unburned savannas. Some of the burn scars are surrounded by the red dots, making the path of the fires quite visible. Frequent fire is part of what maintains the tropical savanna ecosystem. The area experiences both naturally occurring (lightning-triggered) fires as well as prescribed fires set by traditional Aboriginal land owners, farmers, and ranchers.

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