Fires in Arkansas

Fires in Southern United States

11 January 2005

The combination of parched vegetation and gusty winds that caused dozens of devastating fires in New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma in the first week of 2006 has brought a similar fate to a wider area of the southern United States in the second week of January. Among the newly affected states is Arkansas. This image shows the southeast corner of the state, near the border with Louisiana.

Drought conditions have persisted in the region for months, leading to a build-up of firefuels, including dried grasses, shrubs, and trees. The combination of high amounts of dry fuel and frequent high winds has stoked small fires into widespread brush fires.

8 January 2005
16:35 hrs UTC

Two large fires were detected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite when it collected this image on8 January 2006. The image has been enhanced by the inclusion of shortwave and near-infrared energy that MODISdetected. Vegetation appears bright green, bare or thinly vegetated ground istan, water is dark blue, and the actively burning areas of the fire appear bright pink(outlined in red). That image of the area was captured six days after the photo from the crew of the International SpaceStation (see below).

Astronaut photograph ISS012-E-13692 was acquired 2 January 2006, with a Kodak 760C digital camera using a 400 mm lens

This astronaut photograph captures a 25-kilometer long smoke plume from a fire in the Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Louisiana. The fire started at approximately 1:00 p.m. on2 January 2006, and this image was acquired approximately three and a half hours later as the International Space Station passed over the Texas-Louisiana border, to the southwest of the scene. The long extent of the plume reflects the strong westerly winds that drove the fire eastwards and damaged an estimated 200-300 acres of the wildlife refuge. The striking illumination of the plume is caused by a very low sun angle (the angle between the horizon and the Sun at the point on the ground directly below the Space Station). Although the plume is well illuminated, the low sun angle results in low illumination of other scene features, such as agricultural fields adjacent to therefuge.

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