GFMC analysis: According to the latest satellite-derived analysis provided by the Sukachev Institute for Forest (Krasnoyarsk) the total area burned by 27 May in Mongolia is 385 707 hectares (ha).
A large, smoky fire was detected by the Information and Computer Center (ICC) on 24 May 2006 on the base of satellite data (classification by the NOAA AVHRR). The following images show a time series of the developing fires burning in the foothills of the mountains that separate Russia (north) from Mongolia (south).
24 May 2006 25 May 2006 26 May 2006
(source: Information and Computer Center)
Mongolian forests are characterized by discontinuous but pronounced fire seasons with a long spring fire period and a short autumn fire period. In summer, fire occurence is very rare because of frequent and abundant precipitation. Steppe fires are considered to be primarily responsible for fires in forest-steppe ecotone and in the subtaiga, since they spread into forest stands under favourable conditions. In the belt of the mountain taiga, particularly in its upper zone, most fires are started by lightning. Therefore, the forest danger in the northern region of the country is a natural phenomenon with a repeating character that is linked to the droughts of spring and autumn. Yet, fire occurrence in the forest regions of Northern Mongolia is resulting more and more from inappropriate human activities and has increased from year to year. Currently they contribute to 95 percent of all fires occurring annually in the region. Besides of that, warming of climate, the trend of desertification and droughts are natural conditions that favour the spread of fires and blowups.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASAs Terra satellite captured this image of the fire. The actively burning portions of the fires are outlined in red. Lake Baikal still had ice clinging to its shoreline in places, and part of the Angara River was still ice-covered as well.