Throughout December 2006, large bushfires raged throughnational parks and other remote areas of Victorias Barry Mountains. Despitethe fact that summer was not officially underway, the late spring weather wasextremely challenging for firefighters: hot, windy, and dry. Rough estimatesbased on preliminary maps from the governments VictoriaParks Website indicated that more than 470,000 hectares (close to 1.2million acres) had burned as of December 15.
This image from NASAs Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and ReflectionRadiometer (ASTER) on the agencys Terrasatellite shows fires burning in the heart of Alpine National Park, roughly 57kilometers (a little over 35 miles) southeast of the town of Mansfield. Theimage uses not only visible light detected by ASTER, but also shortwave- andnear-infrared light. Vegetation appears red, burned areas appear charcoal, bareground (including roads) appears light beige, and smoke is gray. Plumes of smokefrom individual fires billow southeast (the image is rotated counterclockwiseoff North) and spread into a blanket of haze.
Alpine is Victorias largest national park, covering 646,000 hectares (nearly1.6 million acres) of the states highest mountains. A mixture of alpine andsub-alpine ecosystems exists in the park, including snow gum (a kind ofeucalyptus) forest and high plains covered by grasslands. More than 1,000species of native plants live within the park, as well as threatened and rareanimals. Many areas and roads in the park were closed because of the dangerousfire conditions.
TERRA 20 December 2006
Fires in Victoria
Clouds over the December 16-17 weekend may have kepttemperatures down a bit, but they apparently did little to quench dozens oflarge fires raging in the Barry Mountains of Victoria, Australia. This image ofthe area was captured on December 18, 2006, by the Moderate Resolution ImagingSpectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASAs Aqua satellite. Places where MODIS detected actively burning fires are outlined inred. Thick smoke billows eastward from the fires across Victoria and New SouthWales. Fires burned throughout the state during December.
AQUA 18 December 2006
The large image provided above has a spatial resolution (level of detail) of250 meters per pixel. An image from the previous satellite overpass was stitchedto the east (right) edge to show the extent of the smoke over the Tasman Sea.