Russia Experiences Worst Fires in 14 Years

New data shows that Russia has recently experienced the largest number of wildfires (bushfires) around its capital this year than in the last 15 years.

This according to data collected by sensors aboard the European Space Agency’s observations satellites ERS-2 and Envisat. The forest and peat bog fires which sprang up were the result of higher than average temperatures and a heatwave of up to 40 degrees Celsius.

The Along Track Scanning Radiometer and the Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer on ESA’s ERS-2 and Envisat satellites measure thermal-infrared radiation which confirms the presence of fire. And though not all fires are detected as a result of satellite revisit times and cloud coverage, the data taken is representative from one month to the other and from one year to the other.

According to data taken across Russia from July 1996 to the present, the number of fires near Moscow was around six times the average for August.

The 2010 Russian wildfires (bushfires) started in late July of 2010 due to the hottest summer in Russian history coupled together with massive drought. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev declared a state of emergency for seven regions while 28 other regions suffered similarly as a result of crop failures due to the drought.

Early estimates suggest that 15,000 people may have died as a result of the heatwave, while the fires themselves have caused an estimated $15 billion USD in damages so far.

Source: ESA

Image Source: NASA Earth Observatory

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