Fires in Northern Territory, Australia

Fires in Northern Territory, Australia

5August 2006

Tropical climates, such as that experienced in the northernmost part of NorthernTerritory, Australia, are commonly thought of as having just two seasons—wet anddry. But Australian natives actually mark the turning of the year with sixseasons. August is the start of “Gurrung,” the end of the dry season. It is windless and hot; the land seems to godormant. Earlier in the year, around April and May, aboriginal land mangers in the area would have setsmall-scale, controlled burns across a patchwork of the bush to stimulate new growth of vegetation and reduce the continuous expanses of fuel available for more devastating bushfires during Gurrung.

3 August 2006

The fires seen here may be natural or human-caused bushfires. This image of Northern Territory was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on 3 August 2006. Places where MODIS detected actively burning fires are marked in red. A large cluster of fires is burning in Kakadu National Park, Austalia’s largest land-based national park. Australian Aborigines have lived in this area for at least 40,000 years, using prescribed fire to sustain and carefully manage the tropical savannalandscape.

The high-resolution image provided above has a spatial resolution of 250 meters per pixel. 

(source: EarthObservatory)



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