Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC
Scattered fires burn throughout the Iberian Peninsula and northern Africa in this true-color Terra MODIS image acquired on June 19, 2003. The fires, which are marked in red, are mostly small, though the group of fires outside Oporto, Portugal, are much larger and show visible smoke plumes streaming to the west over the Atlantic Ocean. Most of these fires are likely to be agriculturally related, though now that the fire season has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere, some are probably wildfires.
This region has been experiencing record high temperatures— around 95 F (35C) generally, even as high as 106 F in Lisbon. These high temperatures can make fighting fires difficult; dry heat helps the fires to grow and spread and makes some methods of firefighting more difficult or impossible. For more information about the roles that fires play in the environment on both a local and global scale, read Global Fire Monitoring on the Earth Observatory website.
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