Fires on Cape York Peninsula

Fires inAustralia

17 November 2006

Fires on Cape York Peninsula

Only a thin perimeter of tropical forest lines the coasts ofQueensland’s Cape York Peninsula. The remainder of the peninsula is tropicalsavanna, a mixture of grasslands and shrubs and small trees. This landscape isprone to fire, and both traditional Aboriginal land owners and modern farmersand ranchers use fire to maintain the landscape. When the Moderate ResolutionImaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) onNASA’s Aqua satellite passed overhead onNovember 15, 2006, the sensor detected numerous large fires (marked in red)burning across the peninsula. Places where the savannas have recently burned aredeep brown, compared to the tan color of the unburned savanna. Tropical forestsare deep green. Over the Gulf of Carpentaria, skies are hazy, which may be amixture of smoke and thin clouds.

15 November  2006


For more on the role of fire in tropicalsavannas, visit the website of Australia’s Tropical Savannas Cooperative ResearchCentre

(source: EarthObservatory).



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