Forest Fires Across Central Siberian Plateau
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Forest Fires Across Central Siberian Plateau

April 19, 2013
On the Central Siberian Plateau, the northeastward direction of the Lena River is turned sharply northward as the river encounters the Verkhoyanskiy Mountains. The river flows northward along the base of the range for several hundreds more miles before emptying into the Arctic Ocean via the Laptev Sea. In the area where the Lena rounds this sharp corner, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite detected numerous fires (marked in red) burning in the region’s boreal forests on July 7, 2005. As in Alaska, summertime thunderstorms in the northern forests often bring lightning that starts forest fires. Fires also start through carelessness or accidents of people visiting forests. In Russia's boreal forests, another major source of forest fires is arson. People set fires to acquire salvage logging permits, which are far cheaper than permits for other forests. The arsonists set fires that may only disturb underbrush and small trees, while leaving the bigger, more lucrative trees unscathed. Credit: NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

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