Large Fires in Northern Mexico From Space {Photo of the Day}

Taken using the Landsat-5 satellite on April 9, this image captures the difficulties being faced by firefighters in Mexico who are attempting to put out two large fires in northern Mexico’s Coahuila state.

According to NASA, who provided this photo, the two fires – called El Bonito and La Sabina – are burning on stepp mountain slopes that are, apparently, difficult to impossible for ground crews to reach. The fires were caused by lightning strikes in mid-March and had burned 99,000 hectares (245,000 acres or 380 square miles) as of April 11.

The fires are burning mostly grass and shrub land, ecosystems that are adapted to fire, says the Comisión Nacional Forestal (CONAFOR, Mexico’s National Forest Service). Lack of winter rain and frost left the plants dry and prone to fire. On top of that, the area has not burned for more than 20 years, during which time fuel built up. Thunderstorms and steady strong winds with gusts up to 70 miles per hour completed the formula for a dangerous, fast-moving wildfire.

Source: NASA Goddard

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