Fires Rage in the State of Guerrero in Mexico

15 May 2020

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MEXICO – Fires are raging in the coastal state of Guerrero in south-central Mexico and smoke from the fires drifts over most of the state. On May 12, 2020, the Comisión Nacional Forestal of Mexico reported 15 active forest fires throughout the state. The fires have been difficult to control because of strong winds. This image shows smoke from the fires as observed on May 13, 2020, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. March to May is the height of fire season in many parts of the Mexico. The dry season this year is expected to be “strong.”

As of May 12, 2020, the Comisión Nacional Forestal of Mexico has called for “extreme precautions since May is when the largest number of fires in the country occurs. Operation Ayotochtli is carried out in Guerrero because it has a high number of forest fires. For Operation Ayotochtli, 30 fighters from the states of Puebla, Hidalgo and Tlaxcala were mobilized along with five vehicles and one more by the Centro Centro de Gestión del Fuego Centro.  Guerrero today presents the highest number of fires in the country with a total of 15, where 589 fighters from CONAFOR, the State Government, the Municipal Civil Protection, as well as owners, ejidos and forest land communities work.”

NASA’s satellite instruments are often the first to detect wildfires burning in remote regions, and the locations of new fires are sent directly to land managers worldwide within hours of the satellite overpass. Together, NASA instruments detect actively burning fires, track the transport of smoke from fires, provide information for fire management, and map the extent of changes to ecosystems, based on the extent and severity of burn scars. NASA has a fleet of Earth-observing instruments, many of which contribute to our understanding of fire in the Earth system. Satellites in orbit around the poles provide observations of the entire planet several times per day, whereas satellites in a geostationary orbit provide coarse-resolution imagery of fires, smoke and clouds every five to 15 minutes. For more information visit:

NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) Worldview application provides the capability to interactively browse over 700 global, full-resolution satellite imagery layers and then download the underlying data. Many of the available imagery layers are updated within three hours of observation, essentially showing the entire Earth as it looks “right now.” Actively burning fires, detected by thermal bands, are shown as red points. Image Courtesy: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS).  Caption: Lynn Jenner with information from the Comisión Nacional Forestal of Mexico.

Last Updated: May 15, 2020
Editor: Lynn Jenner
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