Fires in Victoria continued to rage on 20 December 2006. This image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASAs Terra shows smoke swirling over the state and spreading westward over Melbourne. Places where MODIS detected actively burning fires are outlined in red. These fires have been burning since the beginning of the month, as dry, hot, windy conditions prevailed across the region. Although this part of Victoria is largely national parks and other natural areas, there are many small towns and communities scattered throughout the region that have been endangered by the fires.
TERRA 20 December 2006
The high-resolution image provided above has a spatial resolution of 250meters per pixel.
Despite the fact that summer was not officially underway, the late spring weather was extremely challenging for firefighters: hot, windy, and dry. Rough estimates based on preliminary maps from the governments Victoria Parks Website indicated that more than 470,000 hectares (close to 1.2 million acres) had burned as of December 15.
ASTER – TERRA 20 December 2006
This image from NASAs Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer(ASTER) on the agencys Terra satellite shows fires burning in the heart of Alpine National Park, roughly 57 kilometers (a little over 35 miles) southeast of the town of Mansfield. The image uses not only visible light detected by ASTER, but also shortwave- and near-infrared light. Vegetation appears red, burned areas appear charcoal, bare ground (including roads) appears light beige, and smoke is gray. Plumes of smoke from individual fires billow southeast (the image is rotated counterclockwise off North) and spread into a blanket of haze.
Alpine is Victorias largest national park, covering 646,000 hectares (nearly 1.6 million acres) of the states highest mountains. A mixture of alpine and sub-alpine ecosystems exists in the park, including snow gum (a kind of eucalyptus) forest and high plains covered by grasslands. More than 1,000 species of native plants live within the park, as well as threatened and rare animals. Many areas and roads in the park were closed because of the dangerous fire conditions.